VIU’s View Gallery presents Jim Holyoak: Arborescence

Jim Holyoak's artistic rendering of trees in black and white.

February 10, 2022 - 9:00am

The exhibition runs from February 17 to April 9 with a virtual opening reception on February 17.

Working primarily in drawing, Jim Holyoak creates all-immersive environments that envelope the gallery walls in lush and, at times, decrepit ecosystems of forest, jungle and glade. Working from field sketches, memory, fantastical dreamscapes and myth, he renders his research on a massive scale on rolls of drawing paper that completely cover the gallery walls.

Now based in Nelson, BC, Holyoak is also a writer and creator of richly layered book works and smaller-scale works in ink. Delicate and at times menacing, all of his work draws equally from the most recent discoveries in forest science along with various folklore traditions from around the world.

Along with his own prolific drawing practice Holyoak has carried on a 23-year collaboration with fellow artist, Montreal-based, Matt Shane with whom he has created numerous large-scale drawing installations.

Holyoak received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, a Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University, and studied as an apprentice to master ink-painter Shen Ling Xiang, in Yangshuo, China. He has attended artist-residencies in New York, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Banff, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, England and throughout Norway. 

His work has circulated widely in Europe and North America, including at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the GEM Museum of Contemporary Art in The Hague, the Drawing Association in Oslo, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in Rīga, the Carnegie Mellon International Drawing Symposium in Pittsburgh and the Museum of Drawing in Sweden. Holyoak’s work was featured in the We Are Monsters issue of Border Crossings Magazine and the Feminisms issue of Esse Magazine.

A virtual opening reception is being held on February 17 at 7 pm. Please visit the View Gallery’s website for Zoom details. An in-person artist talk is being held on February 18 from noon to 1 pm at the Nanaimo campus in Building 200 (Student Affairs), Room 203. Proof of vaccination will be required to attend.

The View Gallery is VIU’s contemporary art gallery. The VIU community acknowledges and thanks the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose unceded traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge.  

B330, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BC. Entrance 5D.


Chai Duncan, VIU Visual Art Instructor and View Gallery Curator, Vancouver Island University


Tags: The View Gallery | Announcements

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