The First Day 2008

The First Day: new work by Holly Story

Shown at The Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery, Fremantle Western Australia.

Artist Statement

Starting this new work, it seems important to move slowly. I am feeling my way around the shape of an intuition that, if proper attention is brought to bear, there are places where nature, the self and the divine can partake freely of one another. I wonder, is this why absence is such a palpable presence in the Australian bush, because in so many places that attention has been withdrawn? It seems to me the land is hungry for recognition, and it is now up to all of us who can see this to act. Judith Wright said: “the trouble with our relationship with Australia is that we still don’t live here.” She was speaking of us newcomers, our settler mentality. But how do you really get to know a place, allowing it to seep into you and affect the way you are and the way you live? This is the question I return to over and over in my work.
Excerpt from Focus on Judith Wright by WN Scott, University of Queensland Press 1967


In The First Day, Holly Story has ventured out, for the first time, into video. Breath brings all the artists tactile sensibilities to digital video. Other works in the show including a beautiful series of garlands and two majestic plant-dyes blankets complete a sense of cultural ownership which is entangled, sometimes lost and sometimes found, within the seasonal and physical memory of the Australian bush and its material gifts.
Ric Spencer, The West Australian TODAY, November 14, p. 7.


For Holly Story

In summer hundreds of cicadas
in continuous percussion
unpick the afternoon
and a woman lays a dress
in the creek, fixing its place
without stone, she watches it unfurl
with girl grace as the stream
owns it seamless, slips through it
as though sliding a child from one
hip to the other and the dress,
wearing its torso of water
begins to breathe.

It is a simple shift
that animates the broken
conversation between bloodwoods.

In the radius of the act
whose length travels back
to the city where she lives
there is no invocation,
no placation of any deity,
only the gentle tug of the dress
that remains breathing
through seasons steeped
in tannin or flushed
with winter rain;

the maiden fact of the dress
moistens into a climate
the fabric becomes a fiction
billowing over large tracts
of forest and some greater
language of trees
dies back into life.

Jennifer Kornberger 2008