This May, Artereal Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Australian artist Sam Holt. This latest body of work represents the artist’s first solo exhibition since being awarded the 2017 Marten Bequest and his subsequent relocation to Berlin.
Constructed from old canvases and paintings that the artist has held on to in the studio for years, Sam Holt has taken Pablo Picasso’s maxim that “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction” to heart when creating his latest body of work. Cut up, reassembled, collaged, pieced together, layered, painted over again and sewn into new works, Holt’s latest ‘paintings’ grow out of a process that draws on and remixes his own artistic oeuvre. The result is a series of artworks which act as a visual metaphor for the notion that each and every past decision we have made, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential they may seem, informs and plays some role in the fabrication of our present reality.
By sampling and borrowing from the visual language of his own past paintings, and mining the detritus of his artistic practice, Holt has dreamt up a body of work which is in many ways highly personal and autobiographical. Seen through the eyes of the artist, each work is pieced together from materials that evoke personal memories of time, place and emotion. The day to day history of the artist’s life is interwoven, in a bower-bird like process, into the literal fabric of each artwork.
“Seen through the gaze of the artist, these new artworks form a language of associations where remnants from previous bodies of works spanning my 6-year practice are transformed and reconfigured into lyrical new compositions. Layered and stitched together, the resulting artworks are ambiguous collages which reflect the culmination of my lived decisions to date – translated into form, composition, and colour .
Offering a space to reflect on the temporal nature of our existence, and the way in which we experience and value time, my new works focus on the past and the present and the effect that they have on our future. I am interested in the in- between moments, those unnotable instances of transition and commute which we skip over as being inconsequential – intimate and subjective moments often considered too unworthy and ‘unhashtagable’ to ever be broadcast to the world…”
In many ways, Holt’s paintings are meditative reflections on concepts which now permeate society’s contemporary psyche. The ambiguous nature of each painting requires viewers to pause and reflect, to take a moment to be ‘truly present’ before choosing to invest meaning into each work. By asking the audience to interpret and attach their own narrative to each abstract painting, Holt has created a space for meditation and contemplation.
Covering many of the paintings are crude and expressive stitches, evidence of the artist’s hand which deliberately harken back to the physical process involved in the formation of these newly collaged pieces. By reminding us of how these works have been made, Holt again reminds us of the myriad ways in which the past informs the present.
“My practice is interested in observing the way in which we individually navigate our daily lives. In the end, both the paths that we choose to follow and those which we choose to ignore, dictate and influence the direction in which we move and where we will ultimately head. As an artist I look to create work which explores this navigation between ‘want and need’ in contemporary society and the place in between in which we so often reside. Our predisposition and intuition for decision-making is both informed and directed by our own unique personal histories and individual experiences. It’s the personal associations we attach to images that interest me. In creating paintings and sculptures that play with abstraction and ambiguity I hope to trigger unexpected reflections and moments of contemplation amidst our everyday routine.”
Drawing upon ideas of expanded painting, Holt’s latest body of work also begins to cross over into sculpture and installation for the first time. Disrupting the space of the gallery, Holt’s latest exhibition will capture the viewer by surprise – prompting us to see things differently and take the time to really look – both at the artworks in front of us and the world around us.
Sam Holt is a Berlin-based Australian artist. Originally from Sydney, Sam commenced his tertiary studies at The National Art School, before completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney in 2016. During this time he participated in an exchange residency at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and at the Fine Arts Academy, Hunan Normal University in China.
Since graduating from art school, Sam has held two solo exhibitions at Artereal Gallery, Present Future in 2015 and The Distance Between in 2017. His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions and been exhibited at Sydney Contemporary (2015, 2017) and Art Central Hong Kong (2017).
In 2017 Sam Holt was awarded the Marten Bequest for Painting (awarded by the Australia Council for the Arts). Following this significant milestone, Sam relocated to Berlin in 2018 where he currently lives and works.
Sam has also been a finalist in the Korean Ausrtalian Art Foundation Prize (2017), the Paddington Art Prize (2017) and the Churchie Emerging Art Prize. Sam’s works are held in numerous Australian and international corporate and private collections including those of Artbank and Servcorp.