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Art Review: Nancy Holt @ Haunch of Venison

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 60 months ago
Art Review: Nancy Holt @ Haunch of Venison
Nancy Holt, Western Graveyard Series (Image 5). Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Western Graveyard Series (Image 5). Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Concrete Visions. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Concrete Visions. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Over the Hill. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Over the Hill. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Trail Markers
1969
photograph

Walk on Dartmoor to ancient wood, England

scanned from 35mm color slide
Nancy Holt, Trail Markers (Image 16). Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Pine Barrens. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.
Nancy Holt, Pine Barrens. Courtesy Haunch of Venison.

Nancy Holt is an American artist who specialises in site-specific installations, most notably the Sun Tunnels in Utah. These are four great tunnels that are perfectly aligned to sunrise and sunset on the summer and winter solstices.

This is Holt's first solo UK exhibition and consists of detailed photographs of many of her most significant works. It's a varied portfolio but the unifying theme is the use of light in photography and how it can alter perspective.

A favourite technique of Holt's is to present a confined view, such as through a concrete tunnel, and highlight how suddenly and drastically the view can change depending on the light and the viewing angle. She seems to conjure a gateway to a different world, one that is constantly shifting.

Holt's sense of humour is also on display when she explores the Sunshine State of California by photographing various shop, school and hotel signs that all feature the word sun.

Her vision and the concept behind her art is brilliant, but the use of sequential photographs doesn't quite capture it — video might have been the better option. As much as they might try, the images can't replicate the feeling of watching the sea via a tunnel that passes through a sand hill on the beach.

Nancy Holt is on display at Haunch of Venison, 103 New Bond Street, W1S 1ST until 25 August. Entrance is free.

Last Updated 08 June 2012