Holly Ward

Holly Ward is a Vancouver-based artist. She received her BFA (Interdisciplinary) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1999 and her MFA (Studio) from the University of Guelph in 2006. She has exhibited in solo exhibitions across Canada at the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery (Vancouver), the Or Gallery (Vancouver), and YYZ Gallery (Toronto), amongst others. She has participated in group exhibitions in Canada, England, Mexico, the United States, Norway and South Korea. Her public art project, News of the Whole World (2011), can currently be seen on the exterior of the CBC building in downtown Vancouver. She is represented by Republic Gallery (Vancouver).


  • Persistence of Vision

    June 11–July 23, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward, em>Persistence of Vision</em>, 2011

    Holly Ward’s interdisciplinary practice is centred on ideas surrounding social progress and political power, and serves to examine the role of art within this. In Persistence of Vision, Ward investigates symbolic strategies of resistance and the use of utopian discourse as a starting point for revolution. The exhibition creates a linkage between contemporary spaces of protest and historical representations of the “utopian” city square. Featuring new sculptural and print work, the exhibition is an extension of Ward’s ongoing interest in social engagement and the utopian imaginary.

    Postscript 43:Jeff Derksen on Holly Ward (PDF)

  • Placebo

    June 12–July 16, 2004

    Placebo features two artists who use everyday objects and substances to investigate consumption and states of embodiment.

    Colleen Wolstenholme’s work uses images of pills and corporate logos found on the internet as sources for projects in sculpture, photography, painting and embroidery. Psychotropic and analgesic medications are charged with a range of social, sexual and cultural content, and Wolstenholme has wed these associations to a range of cultural practices. The history of handicraft informs her labour-intensive petit point reproductions of pharmaceutical logos. Colour photographs and inkjet prints manipulate the branding of pills and other consumed substances, such as cigarettes and alcohol, into patterns suggested by their shapes and clinical effects. From floral motifs to patterns that are reminiscent of molecular structures and constellations, Wolstenholme’s wry work draws upon the distance between the uniform, brightly coloured, text-embossed aesthetic of these goods and remedies, and their function, effect or social significance.

    Helen Cho uses the sensual presence of soap and sugar in installations that reflect the permeable and transitional nature of these substances. Luxurious and exuding an overbearing scent, these concentrated and heavily processed materials are manipulated and placed in ephemeral arrangements in relation to the architecture of the gallery. The usual intimacy between soap and body is undercut through paring and grating, and through embedding remnants of everyday life, such as beads and pins. These fossils, when placed in piles of glittering refined sugar, become part of an idealized landscape. Too Sweet! Go Away! evokes the slippery interiors and exteriors of the body and the equally blurred division between the two. Both subtle and extreme, this installation draws upon our familiarity with substances we consume daily, and transforms them, intensifying a sense of absorption, from without and within, of material culture.

Talks & Events

  • Artist Talk

    June 25, 2011

    Holly Ward speaks in conjunction with her exhibition, Persistence of Vision.


  • Every Force Evolves A Form

    EEFVA front
    EEFVA back

    Title: Every Force Evolves a Form
    Category: Artist Book
    Artist: Holly Ward
    Writers: Kathleen Ritter, Jeff Derksen, Laura Piasta
    Editor: Kim Nguyen
    Design: Post Projects
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: Paper Chase Printing
    Year published: 2012
    Edition: 200
    Pages: 48pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 26 colour images
    Dimensions: 20.5 x 20.5 x 0.5 cm
    Weight: 159 g
    ISBN: 978 -0-921394-64-8
    Price: $6

    This catalogue is published in conjunction with Holly Ward’s exhibition Persistence of Vision. It features the artist in conversation with Kathleen Ritter, an extended essay by Jeff Derksen and a text on recreating a glass symphony by Laura Piasta.

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  • Placebo

    placebo front
    placebo spine
    placebo back

    Title: Placebo
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Helen Cho, Colleen Wolstenholme
    Writers: Lorna Brown, Holly Ward
    Editor: Artspeak
    Design: Robin Michell
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2004
    Pages: 15pp
    Cover: Paper fold out velcro
    Binding: Single Bolt
    Process: Offset
    Features: 8 colour images
    Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 1.5
    Weight: 61 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-49-7
    Price: $4 CDN

    Placebo is published on the occasion of a two-person exhibition featuring Helen Cho and Colleen Wolstenholme, which took place at Artspeak between June 12 and July 16, 2004.

    A placebo, whether a sugar pill used in clinical trials or an effect of belief upon our perceived experience, stands in for something else in a way similar to the function of representation. In their work, Cho and Wolstenholme draw upon the strategy of substitution to extract the full evocatory potential of materials and images.

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