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NINA HOLMES - ‘it is not what i see’ Now on show at Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town until 30 September 2019

From a media release:

NINA HOLMES - ‘it is not what i see’
Now on show at Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town
until 30 September 2019

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - In her latest solo exhibition, entitled ‘it is not why i see’, Nina Holmes presents a series of paintings inspired by an intense three-day study of the forests surrounding Karatara, a half hour drive outside of Knysna (Western Cape).
Nina Holmes | Homage | 2019 | Mixed media on canvas | 52 x 72cm 
This body of work was largely informed by a landscape workshop that took place in Karatara, a town in the Knysna Municipality earlier this year. After three days of intensive studies in the woods and observing traditional land and sky-scapes during which I experienced extreme weather conditions, I knew that I did not want to represent my environment in any realistic, picturesque way. I was so affected by the harshness of working ‘enplein air’ and the concurrent dualities of nature: The apparent lazy serenity of blissful farm life, blue skies, distant rumble of the local woodchoppers, snorting of horses, undulating valleys versus the harsh sun beating down on one side of one’s face, unexpected gusts of wind sending materials flying, the swarms of relentless mosquitoes in the forest, stinging rain, the difficulty in lugging one’s own equipment through unwelcoming terrain.

I was trying to make paintings of my experience of being there, and I didn’t know what that looked like. So as much as I was surrounded by visual cues, which obviously springboarded the work, I wanted to work predominantly from what I felt in those woods. So I became hyper sensitive to my other senses. I wished to make visual that which I had heard, mark the tactile quality of the soil, the sharpness of branches, the irritation of ants. I wanted to colour the smells, retaste the dank mould of the earth, feel the delicacy and confusion of crossing twigs. And always, not merely just sensory awareness, but emotional.
Nina Holmes | Karatara: Ambient Composition | 2019 | Acrylic on canvas | 82.5 x 117.5cm 
On returning to Cape Town, I wanted to continue the process. I surrounded myself in my studio with my entire body of Karatara studies from which I worked. I pursued paintings that were mostly large that would afford me a kind of vast landscape on which to work. Quickly, instinctively. Working in acrylic mainly to allow for speed as I had done before. Trying to recapture elements of that location - the single tree, the intersection of branches, the shouting of hens. I painted what I didn’t see. Recurrent motifs, abstracted forms seemed to reappear again and again. Inspired by the work of Fabienne Verdier, I painted on large loose canvasses taped to the floor working aerially. I began another in black and white working solely from audio to the music of Lisa Gerard. It is not what I see. I have tried to look at each work and really feel what the painting needs and wants as opposed to superimposing any idea of preconceived outcome. I have tried to become comfortable with not knowing.

Not to forget another implied understanding of the show’s title, that it is not about what I as the artist sees, but what the viewer sees or experiences. I hold the belief that while some knowledge of the artist’s intentions and methods may allow for greater appreciation of specific work, the viewer may see or feel something entirely different to the artist’s original ideas and intended outcomes.
Nina Holmes | Muted | 2019 | Acrylic on paper | 47 x 35cm 
The words of artist Albert Oehlen resonate strongly with me. Oehlen speaks of "qualities that I want to see brought together: delicacy and coarseness, colour and vagueness, and underlying them all, a base note of hysteria."

- I love art. It is immediate. I hate art. It confronts me. I love art. It allows me to forget. I hate art. It makes me vulnerable. I love art. It drives me. I hate art. It is contrived and pretentious.I love art. It is painful –

Cape Town based artist, Nina Holmes, obtained a postgraduate diploma (with distinction) at the Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town in 2017. She has participated in numerous group shows in a Cape Town and this is her second solo exhibition at the Eclectica Contemporary gallery.

Her work is included in private collections in South Africa and abroad.

Now on view at Eclectica Contemporary, 69 Burg Street, Cape Town until 30 September 2019.


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