Sophomore records, particularly when the first is received so positively, are heavy with expectation, hope, and a preconceived notion of what an audience believes an artist should be. Artists then must choose to bow to the pressure, or ignore all external noise and follow their intuition. Just over a week from now, on February 24, HOLY HOLY will release their second album PAINT; a panoramic record which absolutely pertains to the latter option, the boys are back with a bold, distinctive and fiercely captivating LP. And today, HOLY HOLY and acclaimed Australian expressionist painter, James Drinkwater announce ‘Painting To PAINT’: four local artists curated by Drinkwater, bring to the canvas four songs from PAINT. Inspired and accompanied by HOLY HOLY’s music, the process of creation from blank canvas to completion will be filmed and edited into four separate films by award-winning local director, Charlie Ford. With undeniable vision and meticulous attention to detail, That Message, the third single lifted from the awaited new album, today kicks off the first video of the set, painted by Drinkwater himself.
HOLY HOLY have somehow both undone and strengthened listener preconceptions that may have established themselves with their acclaimed debut album, When The Storms Would Come. Strengthened, in that melody rules all in PAINT as it does in Storms – both vocal and guitar alike, each infliction is settled firmly and boldly in a bed of compelling texture. Undone, in how it is that texture that binds all aspects of melody, harmony and form that is often completely unexpected, but most welcome. The album is familiar, a comfort – yet refreshing, and exciting all at once. Oscar Dawson, lead guitarist and founding member of HOLY HOLY, reflects on the new songs, “PAINT was truly a lifetime in the making. All good records are…the themes from our lives, our practice, our instruments, our styles, and our influences, have been filtering in for years and this is the best job we could do of distilling them.”
These elements have been distilled to perfection on latest offering, That Message. As soon as the mechanic open hi-hat passes nonchalantly through the opening beat to the track, the audience is assured that HOLY HOLY are not a static entity. Skillful guitar playing from Dawson punctuates the synthetic textures, while layered vocals from Tim Carroll float eerily upwards towards the unknown, repeating the mantra, “Let it go, let it go, let it go…” Speaking on the single, Carroll says, “The only guiding principle we stuck with was that we wanted to push ourselves and take some risks. It was a challenging process and as is often the case, I think the restrictions pushed us into new and interesting territories.”
The cover artwork for PAINT is a striking artwork by Drinkwater. Drinkwater’s expressionist work seems the most appropriate visual summarisation for such an arresting and fascinating collection of songs; broad, textured strokes of thick paint bound energetically across the canvas, evoking the influence of the complex music that it represents.
Inspired by this artwork, HOLY HOLY and James Drinkwater are thrilled to announce their collaboration Painting To PAINT, in which local Australian artists carefully selected by the band and Drinkwater, Ben Kenning, Chris Horder, Lottie Consalvo, bring to the canvas four songs lifted from the album.
“This project has allowed a rare crossing of the line that exists between the Australian contemporary music scene and the Australian contemporary art world.” says Carroll. “There is an opportunity here to see how an artist who operates in the visual world, interprets and responds to a work created in the sonic one. Working with James is a real honour for us.”
“When asked to curate the paint project for HOLY HOLY it was something I agreed to immediately on the grounds of mutual admiration, I hold a lot of respect for the boys,” enthuses Drinkwater, “It presented an opportunity to draw on a reservoir of visual artists that I find compelling. Lottie, Chris and Ben, all gifted painters with incredibly different practices meant it could only be monumental.”
The first of this series is That Message (out now), painted by Drinkwater himself. “I chose ‘That Message’ because I liked its dream state spacial quality. It has this incredible pulse that is layered and textured with drama, like a painting…..like paint,” explains Drinkwater, “Holy Holy have a sophistication in their approach that I find engaging and enamouring.”
Set to roll out next week in the series will be Willow Tree painted by Consalvo, Shadow painted by Horder and Send My Regards painted by Kenning.
PAINT is set for release on February 24 and new single That Message is available now.
About the artists involved in “Painting To PAINT”:
James Drinkwater is a Newcastle-based artist whose practice traverses painting, sculpture, assemblage and collage. He makes work about place, intimacy and memory, using abstraction, colour and mark making for transmission of these preoccupations. In 2014 Drinkwater won the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship and is dual finalist in the Wynne prize (2014, 2015) and a 2016 finalist in the Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery NSW. He has held numerous sell-out exhibitions in Australia, UK and Singapore.
Lottie Consalvo is a Newcastle-based artist whose multidisciplinary practice spans painting, sculpture, performance, video and photography. She began her career as a painter but moved to performance art after a European residency in 2010, and for which she was included in the highly acclaimed Marina Abramović: In Residence presented by Kaldor Public art projects, Project #30 in 2015. Consalvo’s recent work furthers this conversation with a physical presence for imagination, memory and physchological transitions in paint. Beautiful, organic forms and colours reference spiritual places such as altars and shrines and natural phenomena like the blurring shift in the act of falling. Her work is held in the collections of Art Bank, Allens Law Firm, Warner Music Australia and in private collections in Australia, UK, Germany and Canada.
Christopher Horder, (Brett Whitely travelling art scholarship and Dobell Prize finalist), has been painting and exhibiting nationally and internationally for over 20 years. His stain paintings echoe the techniques of oriental masters combined with the abstract expressionists of the 50’s. The paintings capture a dynamic force of the metaphysical aspects of paint itself. The exploration of the alchemy between artist and nature is the driving force in capturing these epic cured stains of unpremeditated and primordial imagery.
Ben Kenning is a painter and mixed media artist from Newcastle whose work focuses on drawing, painting, and mixed media works on canvas and paper, regularly exhibiting his works in solo exhibitions in Newcastle, Sydney and Melbourne. Kenning articulates a balance between motion and rest; matter and void; chaos and order, whilst redefining conventional notions of mental, physical and spiritual realities. The artist draws connections with and between these dichotomies as the basis of his ideas and allows his intuition and subconscious to process such through his work.