Navigating the motivations of our decision-making, Sam Holt’s paintings act as both a reflection and commentary of the differing ideals we hold and how the environments in which we exist shape to foster them. It’s this moulding from the rudimentary fulfilment we had in childhood to the often ongoing sense of discontentment we feel when seen through the conventions of western society. The curiosity and contentment of growing up seems to have been lost somewhere, thrown out as naïve in the race for a future life superior. Unscripted and free flowing, the marks in Sam Holt’s paintings are imbued with his personal reflections of the balance between our individual and collective ideals and wants. They are reflections of the past, present and future and dare to engage the viewer in a continuing investigation in how they have all and will transpire…
“I paint to document my changing state. Closely connected to the time and place in which they are made, my gestured marks oscillate between my various frames of mind to form surreal snapshots of my identity.
Avoiding sketches and overthinking, I aim to work loosely and with speed, so that as I get caught up in the process the painting itself starts to orchestrate and direct my strokes, creating an intuitive relationship that is constantly being redirected and shifted.
Once started, it’s a constant process of re-evaluation and response to the relationship between line, colour and form. Painting in this way, without restraint or preparatory sketches, allows the works to form in front of me whilst I am in a trance like state – a process that I hope allows the works to keep their honesty and a sense of freshness.
The unknown is the driving force behind my practice, it’s an uncovering of the subconscious and is essential in creating work of feeling that both makes a comment and speaks of my state.
While they are not direct depictions of particular landscapes, the Australian landscape has intrinsically seeped into the work, due to the very fact that I am a part of the landscape as an Australian artist.
An important element within these works is the repeated motif of the line – a mark which has become integral in representing my sense of self within the landscape. This line helps to capture a fleeting energy and imbue a sense of character and life into the works. This loose connection back to the landscape provides the viewer with a sense of familiarity with which to connect.
As I paint in such a frenzied trance like state, often the subject matter of the painting reveals itself much later in the process. There is usually a moment of ‘oh that’s what that was really about’ at which point in time I title the work. Whilst the titles may at first seem flippant, they are actually full of personal significance and harbor double meanings and a commentary on my observations of the art world, life and my sense of place as an Australian Artist.
The underlying ambiguity in these ‘diary-like’ titles plays an essential role in constructing the relationship between audiences and my work by opening them up for discussion and thought. Just as I do when I am painting them, the viewer brings their own collective memory when interacting with my works. It is this relationship and sense of discovery that I want the work to constantly foster throughout its existence.”
Sam Holt, 2015