Jim Holyoak

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Jim Holyoak is a drawer and writer, based in British Columbia, Canada. His discipline consists of room-sized drawing installations, book arts and ink-painting. In parallel to his solo practice, Holyoak has orchestrated numerous collaborative drawing projects, sometimes involving hundreds of people drawing together. He has attended artist-residencies around the world including New York, Mumbai, Québec, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and throughout Norway. His drawings blur plein-air observation with the imagined to create otherworldly beings and places. Though the content of his work ranges from the biological to the phantasmagorical, his persistent interests include metamorphosis, human empathy for other species and the challenge of fathoming deep time. Holyoak’s work has been circulated widely in Europe and North America, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montréal, the GEM Museum of Contemporary Art in The Hague, the
Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in Rīga, the Carnegie Mellon International Drawing Symposium in Pittsburgh and the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham, UK.

“Though the content of my work ranges from the biological to the phantasmagorical, there is a persistent interest in human empathy for other species, and in the difficulty of fathoming deep time – the world millions of years ago, and the world ahead. The animals I contemplate most are the species that never existed, that no longer exist, and those that are on the brink of extinction. For example, dinosaurs fascinate me because they are completely real and completely imaginary – they are monsters for real. This tension between what is real and imaginary, what once existed and no longer exists, is the uniting principle in all my work.” – Jim Holyoak


Artist CV


2011 MFA in Drawing and Painting, Concordia University, Montréal, QC
2007 Apprentice of master ink painter Shen Ling Xiang, Yangshuo, China
2004 Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours, University of Victoria, British Columbia 2014 Diploma in Elfs and Hidden People, Icelandic Elfschool, Reykjavík

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2018 Book of Nineteen Nocturnes, Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Kelowna, BC 2016 Nowhereworlds, bG Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA
2016 The Thicket, Centre Clark artist-run-centre, Montréal, QC
2013 Lycanthrope, Galerie Donald Browne, Montréal, QC

2012 Oblivion Monstrosus, Bleicher/Golightly Gallery, Santa Monica, CA 2011 Holocene, Faculty of Fine Arts Gallery, Montréal, QC
2010 My Minotaur, Bleicher/Golightly Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2007 Nothing is Wasted But the Whale Itself, Truxtop Gallery, Silverlake, CA 2006 Seasons in the Sun (Fall), New General Catalog, Brooklyn, NY

2006 Aquarium of Night, Hatch Gallery, Pasadena, CA
2003 October Blizzard, The Fifty-Fifty Arts Collective, Victoria, BC

Selected Collaborative Exhibitions

2021 Walloways, Teckningsmuseet (The Museum of Drawings), with Matt Shane, Laholm, Sweden (forthcoming)

2019 The Hills Are Shadows, with Matt Shane, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, UK
2019 Overworld, with Matt Shane, Galerie Deux Poissons, Montréal, QC
2019 Manif d’art 9 – La biennale de Québec, with Matt Shane, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, QC
2017 Forestrial Brain, with Matt Shane, Open Space Arts Society, Victoria, BC
2016 Wodwo, in situ installation, with Matt Shane, Musée d’art contemporain, Montréal, QC
2016 Sumarryk (Summer Dust), Verksmiðjan, Hjalteyri, Iceland
2014 Six Ghosts Spell Unknown Alphabet, Tegnerforbundet (Drawing Association), Oslo, Norway 2014 Curtains and Bridges, Frame Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
2013 Ja Natuurlijk (Yes, Naturally), with Matt Shane, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands 2011 Québec Triennial: The Work Ahead of Us, with Matt Shane, Musée d’art contemporain, Montréal, QC
2011 When the Summer is Winter and the Winter is Winter, with Matt Shane, Walter Phillips Galley, Banff, AB
2010 Big Fleas Have Little Fleas, with Matt Shane & Airom Bleicher, bG Gallery, Santa Monica, CA 2009 Greyscale Rainbow, with Matt Shane, Articule artist-run centre, Montréal, QC
2006 Broken Arm, Long Shadow, with Airom Bleicher & Mike Saijo, Kristi Engle Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2004 The Utopic Dream of the Sun in a Box, with Matt Shane & Mike Anderson, The Down, Victoria, BC

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Overburden, Oxygen Art Centre, Nelson & Kootenay Gallery, Castlegar, BC 2019 The Room and TEN, bG Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2019 Aquarelle – Watercolour, Galerie McClure, Montréal, QC

2011-20 (annually) Papier, art fair, Montréal, QC
2016-19 Alptraum (Nightmare), wandering exhibition (17 locations, 21 countries), curated by Marcus

2018 The Sunshine Eaters, Onsite Gallery, OCAD University, Toronto, ON
2018 Line Attack, The Hive, Los Angeles, CA
2017 Survival Kit 9: Becoming an Apricot, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Rīga, Latvia 2017 The Wild, Galerie Maurits Van De Laar, The Hague, Netherlands

2017 The Domain Beyond the Territory, Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montréal, QC 2015 Grayscale Wonderland, Glass Garage Gallery + Bleicher/Gorman (bG) Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2014 Secret Emo Diary, SÍM Salurinn, Reykjavík, Iceland
2014 Energy / Énergie, Foreman Gallery, Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, QC
2013 Gemak, Galerie Maurits Van De Laar, The Hague, Netherlands
2013 Circle Logic, Bleicher/Golightly Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2012 Murmurer, Studio Baustelle, Berlin, Germany
2012 Sleep of Reason, Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, YK
2012 Kauneus/Beauty, Mustarinda, Finland
2012 The Inventory, Babel Kunst, Trondheim, Norway
2010 Elimination of the Inbetween, Gallery Atsui, Vancouver, BC
2010 The Cheaper Show No.9, Lower East Side Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2010 Horror Vacui, Galerie McClure, Montréal, QC
2005-08 contributor to monthly group shows, The Hive Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2008 The World Without Us, Glass Garage Gallery, West Hollywood, CA
2007 Animalesque, Art Murmur, Los Angeles, CA
2007 Fickle Hearts Grow Greener, Lower East Side Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2007 Micro Gestalt, 207 Gallery, Manhattan, NY
2006 The Max: Live Painting Show, Hangar 1018, Los Angeles, CA
2006 Duotone Arts Festival, Kelowna, BC
2006 Ergot Eryops, The Fifty-Fifty Arts Collective, Victoria, BC
2006 Post-card Correspondence Art, Pterodactyl Studio & Gallery, Salt Spring Island, BC
2005 The Max: Live Painting Show, Hangar 1018, Los Angeles, CA
2004 (self) Publish or Perish, Open Space Arts Society, Victoria, BC
2004 Everybody Get Down, The Down, Victoria, BC
2003 Animalism, The Ministry of Casual Living, Victoria, BC
2002 With My First Military Pay Cheque I’m Gonna Buy an X-box, The Brown House, Victoria, BC

Selected Residencies and Symposia

2021 Marpha Foundation, Mustang District, Nepal
2019 Midlands Arts Centre, UK
2018 Est-Nord-Est, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, QC
2017 Booklyn Artist Alliance, Brooklyn, USA
2015-16 Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec Residency, Mumbai, India
2014 SÍM (Association of Icelandic Visual Artists), Reykjavík, Iceland
2014 DRAW2014: Why Draw Now? International Drawing Symposium, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
2013 Wander, The Hague, Netherlands
2012 Je fixais des vertiges, Le 30e Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie Saint-Paul, QC 2012 Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dale (Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale), Norway
2012 Mustarinda, Hyrynsalmi, Finland

2012 Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder, Trondheim, Norway
2012 Kunstnarhuset Messen, Ålvik, Norway
2010 Figure in a Mountain Landscape (reprise), The Banff Centre, AB 2006 New General Catalog, Brooklyn, NY


Artexte (Montréal)
Bamfield Marine Science Center
Carleton University Art Gallery
Eldfjallasafn Volcano Museum, Stykkishólmur, Iceland Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides
Musée d’art contemporain de baie-saint-paul Québec
Royal Ontario Museum (Department of Fossils and Evolution)




CBC interview with Jim Holyoak and Matt Shane about their collaborative work (film by Jorge Camarotti): https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1425480259872



Forestrial Brain, online catalog published by Open Space Arts Society: https://forestrialbrain.ca



Travelogue of the artist’s drawing and trekking mission to Sikkim (Northeast India) with his little brother Ben: http://www.tripp.in/?p=611



Nowhereworlds: The Othered Ecologies of Jim Holyoak, by Tracy Valcourt for Border Crossings magazine, issue 113: We Are Monsters: BorderCrossings_TracyValcourt_Nowhereworlds2015p.88-95



Video interview for exhibition of ‘Book of Nineteen Nocturnes’ at Alternator Gallery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLAdK-5Tobs&feature=emb_title




Video interview for exhibition of ‘Book of Nineteen Nocturnes’ at Alternator Gallery in British Columbia:



Video interview with Matt Shane for the ‘Forestrial Brain’ exhibiton at Open Space Arts Society in Victoria, BC:



Documentation from the collaborative ‘Summer Dust’ residency at Verksmiðjan in Iceland:



Documentation of ‘ex-Lycanthrope,’ a night-long, live-drawing and music performance, for the 12th Edition of the Nuit Blanche in Montréal, at Galerie Donald Browne:

Installation of Forestrial Brain