TANDEM, Installation shots, Ann Haley + Harley Holiday, The Front, New Orleans, LA, 2023. 

TANDEM; working or occurring in conjunction with each other; to give and receive simultaneously.

In an immersion of paintings, drawings, ceramics, and film, Ann Haley and Harley Holiday probe the intimate dialogues between past and present, partner and self, and vessel and body to reveal a narrative revolving around themes of mutual support, the evolution of the self, and the resilient nature of the human body.

In their individual works, Haley and Holiday contemplate the nature of time itself by delving into the profound connection between paying homage to their roots and honoring their growth and how that connection shapes our understanding of self and identity. Both artists use mediums that aid these explorations through their material natures.

Haley employs a multilayered oil painting process that symbolizes the interplay between what lies on the surface and what is buried deep. Embedded within these layers is backwards writing that acts as a mirror, both between the artist and herself, as well as herself and others. Within this mirror, she invites viewers to introspect on shared identity struggles, implying that “to look at me means you have to look at you too.”

In her painting titled FLUID (what is your body holding onto?) Haley explores how trauma tends to settle in our body's most vulnerable parts. She reflects on the burden of chronic pain and her body's resistance to fluidity. Her piece face it (you have to) rigidly illustrates the depth one must reach to confront their inner struggles. In a dialogue with these themes, Haley's paintings like the girl with the green ribbon around her neck, SAD (it’s okay), secret waterfalls (safe place), feed me, mem map, and bird in the sky (how good it would feel to be) serve as gateways to her past. Artworks she made during what she terms “the before” (as an emerging artist between 2009 - 2014, prior to her life-changing car accident) undergo a profound transformation into rewritten narratives. She carefully preserves what was effective and extracts what wasn't in an attempt to heal her former self and break her cycles of self doubt and destruction for her future self.

Holiday utilizes clay to explore bodily fear. We cannot fully exact our will upon clay; working with this medium forces us to move and bend in the way that it wants us to move and bend. As we shape clay, it shapes us in tandem. Much like how one cannot control what happens to a piece once it enters the kiln, we cannot fully exercise our wills upon our bodies. In the end, our human vessels will call out their needs to us: for rest, for movement, for touch and warmth and water. When we lean into the needs of our bodies, everything flows. It is much the same with clay. The material itself has a corporeal quality; it can bend and stretch, form and reform in a cyclical process of destruction and regeneration.

In their multi-piece sculpture Kondie, Holiday exorcizes and makes visible their struggles with hypochondria. Through the construction of a swan-shrine acting as a benevolent higher power, Holiday provides comfort for the little clay bodies trapped in the all-consuming experience of health anxiety. Woven throughout Holiday’s sculpture and drawings are motifs of human and animal bodies, exploring the idea of more-than-human creatures acting as benefactors, talismans and guiding forces within our lives, as well as the animal natures intrinsic to the human experience. Through the incorporation of work from previous years, Holiday explores the synergistic experience of holding past versions of self in tandem with the present.

The notion of tandem began when the artists both found themselves with broken bones at the start of the new year. A situation that initially felt unfair and burdensome transformed into a  moment of resilience and mutual care. Amidst bed rest, leaning on each other to complete daily tasks, and venturing to physical therapy together, they made their collaborative painting titled PT.

Finally, in their film, tandem, which was made in collaboration with cinematographers Kelsey Scult and Marion Forbes, we see two separate beings who are actively embodying their past and present selves, while synchronously enmeshed with each other in an intricately shared experience.

tandem from Ann Haley on Vimeo.

Co-Directed by Ann Haley + Harley Holiday
Cinematography by Marion Forbes + Kelsey Scult
Edited by Kelsey Scult
Ft. Sabine
7 minutes 43 seconds (looped)

© 2013-2024 Ann Haley.    ︎