Artereal Gallery is excited to present a solo exhibition of new mixed-media works by Sydney-based artist Sam Holt. Titled They should make an app for this shit, the possibilities are endless… the exhibition showcases a series of atmospheric abstract pieces which continue Sam Holt’s exploration into themes such as memory, nostalgia and self-reflection.
Originally known for his ethereal abstract landscape paintings defined by grand, sweeping painterly gestures, Sam Holt has in more recent years turned his attention to working with mixed media – combining photography, digital illustration and painting to explore memory and abstraction. Now, in this new exhibition, Holt pulls on these two strands within his practice, melding two disparate artistic methodologies and bringing them together to create a series of fresh and seductive new works.
In creating these new works Holt begins by mining his own archive and working with personal photographs heavily embued with layers of memory and personal experience. These carefully selected photographs are then “digitally massaged”, tweaked, manipulated and edited before being printed on linen. The final evolution then takes place in the artist’s studio – an alchemical process in which the original image is once again transformed and reimagined, this time through the application of multiple sheer layers of oil paint and the artist’s signature energetic painterly gestures.
Mimicking the way memories are naturally stretched and abstracted over time, the process of mining these seemingly insignificant personal moments allows Holt to translate an intangible experience into the creation of a new emotionally charged artwork. Steeped in beauty and nostalgia, these mixed media artworks act as a visual metaphor and reminder of the fact that with each decision we make, we transform our reality.
“I really do like paint there’s something dangerously addictive about it.” – Sam Holt
We see this within the exhibition when we look at the way in which Holt often begins with the same photographic image (or the same artistic motif) but concludes with two different artworks – each distinctly different. At times the differences are vast and wild, at other times they are subtle and quiet. In every work, we can see the decisions the artist has made – the path the artist took and also, indirectly, the path not taken.
For Holt, the process of making these works draws heavily on the act of self reflection. As he works in the studio, questioning every creative decision, following an artistic path full of forked roads, he creates works which echo the process of life. We are all asked to make decisions every day, to stop and reflect on what could have been, to take steps that cannot be untaken. In life, the same starting point can lead to vastly different places.
Driven by experimentation and materiality, Holt is an artist whose work remains constant thematically, but aesthetically shifts quite dramatically over time. From his perspective, to continuously stick with one idea or style would be absurd and insincere. Although his work is always united by the fact that Holt is an artist who continuously seeks out beauty, he has also given himself permission to experiment. The works he makes mirror his own interests, curiosity, life and the viewpoint of someone with ADHD and a constantly shifting lens, staccato bursts of energy and an appetite for adventure.
Dreamy. Seductive. Atmospheric. Sam Holt is not shy about creating a work you want to dive into. His artworks are a celebration of the small and seemingly insignificant moments of beauty and wonder which surround us every day.