Lisa Holden is a British-born artist based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her earlier visual work explores notions of the self as a series of estranged identities-guises adopted and appropriated, and dependent upon context. Holden has been integrating performance art, painting and drawing, photography and video, and digital manipulation of these combinations of forms in a manner that is clearly advancing the parameters of art photography and creating a new art methodology/language in the process.
She combines digital imagery with hand-painted layers to create 'parallel realities', referring to the exploration of displacement, adoption and the reinvention of identity as a necessity for survival. Holden's large-scale, 'digitally flawed' painting-photographs interpret and react to our super-fast-paced, technologically driven society. The result is the artist's depiction of a psychological spiral into more personal fracturing of identity, multiple transformations, and a more isolated self and society. New works clearly bear the stamp of Holden's interest in Victorian painting and literature, which often illustrated richly colored fantasies and hallucinations.
A work is created first on the basis of footage shot by the artist (using either a digital still camera or a digital video camera) and is often based on and documents a separate performance art event. The artist frequently takes her own image as the basis of the image. Integrating the digital artifacts randomly generated by the repeated layering process noted below into the final composition, her portrait becomes obscured, iterating the artist's ongoing interest in notions of identity, alternate personas and constructed reality.
In the process of making the composition, the artist prints out the image on photographic paper and draws and paints on it, then scans the hand-manipulated image back into the computer. Parts of this hand-painted image are then integrated into the composition on the computer, often combining early classical paintings into the composition. This process of combining the hand-painted and the digitally-painted sections is repeated--often multiple times. There are often as many as 30-40 digital layers. Then, when the artist feels the image is more or less finished, she has it printed up at full scale, which is often several meters in size.
In her latest series, Holden explores the myth of Lilith. To some, mythological Lilith is the beautiful bearer of disease and death. To others she is Lamia, seductress, stealer of children. She is also Adam's first wife. In today's turbulent times, the myth of Lilith seems an apt starting point. Taking myths surrounding feminine icons like Lilith, Lamia and Danae as her inspiration, Holden's latest body of work explores aspects of duality: beauty and destruction, the flesh and the spirit, order and chaos. This juxtaposition of opposites is echoed in her multi-layered compositions, which sample imagery from early studio photography, classical painting and consumer culture. The final pieces blend analogue and digital imaging, photography and painting where Holden exploits her media and materials to full potential. Integrating the digital artifacts randomly generated by the repeated layering process into the final composition, her portrait becomes obscured, iterating the artist's ongoing interest in notions of identity, alternate personas and constructed reality.
Holden's work is represented in a number of museum and corporate collections, including the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Sammlung Land Tirol (Austria); GasUnie (NL); the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; AKZO NOBEL (NL); ABN; AMRO; and Interpolis.
A selection of Holden’s work was also chosen for use on the cover of the Dutch translations of the novels of 2004 Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek.
Solo projects and exhibitions include:
2009 I'm Dancing Now, Metis_NL Gallery, Amsterdam
The Bronze Room, Gallery New Untitled, Venlo, Netherlands
2006 La Sala Reservada, Metis_NL Gallery, Amsterdam
Erwartung, France Lejeune Fine Art, Knokke-Zout, Belgium
2005 Gas Unie Groningen
Untouchable, France LeJeune Fine Art, Antwerp, Belgium
2004 Running Wild, Foto Forum Insbruck, Austria
Running Wild, Galerie Olivier Houg, Lyon, France
2003 Box of Delights, Entrata Libera, Milan
2002 Head First, Metis_NL gallery Amsterdam
Group shows in museums and artist-led spaces include:
2009 New Acquisitions, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
Opposites Attract: On Dialectics, De Veemvloer, Amsterdam
2006 Making Love to My Ego, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, UK
Labyrinth, Rijksmuseum Enschede, Netherlands
2004 The Book Show, The Nunnery Gallery, London
2002 2-Step, CCNOA-Center for Contemporary Non-Objective Art, Brussels
Sumptuous, in conjunction with Palazzo delle Papesse
Book and catalogue publications include:
--The Bronze Room, 2008, published by Lamia Press
--Elusive Eye, 2005, published by Van Spijk/Gasunie
--Another Publication, published by Revolver
--Labyrint, published by Rijksmuseum Enschede
--Making Love to My Ego, published by Castlefield Gallery
--The Book Show, published by The Nunnery Gallery
--Proof of Principle, published by Akzo Nobel
--Sumptuous, published by Palazzo delle Papesse, Sienna
--Sold!, published by Christie's
Magazine and other periodical citations include:
2008 Lisa Holden's "Bathers" chosen by the editors of Art Info as one of their six top picks of the AIPAD show.
New York Arts
Representation at International Art Fairs:
Holden has also had work presented at many international art fairs, including Art Miami, Paris Photo, FIAC, Artissima, Art Brussels, Photo LA, AIPAD Photography New York, AIPAD Photography Miami, Art Chicago, RAI Amsterdam and Art Rotterdam.
Quotations about Holden and her work:
"Her images are truly breathtaking. In her work, Holden integrates performance art, painting and drawing, lyrics, photography and video, and the digital manipulation of these combinations of art forms."
--Ellen-K Sylverstad of Ellen-K Fine Art Photography, 2009 in her review of the AIPAD New York Photography Show.
"Holden billboards pixellation of her edges and other digital artifacts, which contrast sharply with the layers of paint she's applied, in her succession of layered rephotographing to achieve her final result. Thus, she celebrates the artificiality of the digital medium as the new techno-brushstroke. It seems an obvious development, but it took creative courage to bring it off, given the prevailing Photoshop ideology of concealing the process and imitating analogue film, if not 'reality'."
--Joel Simpson, Artshub, 2008
"European artist Lisa Holden's work has been compared to that of such innovative and influential artists as Cindy Sherman, Pipilotti Rist and Tracey Moffat. But Holden's imagery stands apart with her interest in themes of identity and gender combined with fantasy and art historical precedents, as well as for her unique process that merges photography with painting and sometimes installation and performance art. The aesthetic effect of her process, which involves digital imagery and manipulation, hand-painted imagery, and re-photography, is perhaps initially the most recognizable hallmark of her work. The brilliantly artificial tonality and the pixelated imperfections in the final work coalesce with the unmistakably feminine and feminist subject matter to create art that is visually and conceptually complex, yet also instantly appealing and recognizable, thanks to references to Western culture as well as elements of contemporary design and consumerism."
--N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Focus, 2007
"Despite the ultramodern mix of media, Holden's works are deeply rooted in art history. She layers content just like she layers colours, playing with codes and cliches from our collective memory. In recent years, she has found her interest in dramatic stagings and female bodies anticipated in 19th-century paintings…This fascination is reflected in her choice of subjects, but also in the elongated formats of some of her works, which resemble those of Edward Burne-Jones or Gustav Klimt. Another parallel is the atmosphere of sensuous lassitude that pervades many of Holden's works but never comes without a highly contemporary sense of isolation and fragmentation. Her Bathsheba might be a traditional female nude in a landscape, but her face is hidden behind a field of black colour, and the landscape is fragmented and flattened."
--Anneke Bokern, Eyemazing, 2007
"(Holden's) references have changed from Central Europe to nineteenth-century British art, particularly that of the Pre-Raphaelites, which is so well represented today in the collections of the northern cities where the artist grew up. Likewise in the two panels of Untitled (Reveil) the very use of the diptych already conjures up the formal idiom of the Pre-Raphaelites, which show a female nude on the left, emerging from a wooded scene, her head concealed by what looks like packaging, while on the right the Romantic rock formation and dripping fountain complete the picture. She does not pass unobserved, though, in this natural setting: in the left-hand panel she is observed by a tethered goat and a vague human figure (the goatherd?) behind it, and the right-hand panel also contains a human observer, silhouetted against the tree trunk on the left. Goats, whether depicted in the act of copulating or not, traditionally connote lechery. If we add it all up-- the goat, the fountain, the naked female, the voyeurs, we are presented with an erotic narrative, but a narrative that is not told ...We construct it, like a work of bricolage, by making use of certain elements contained in the work. But it remains a tale untold."
--Peter Mason, essay accompanying one-person exhibition, La Sala Reservada, 2005
Holden's work is made on a large scale. Most of the images are available in 30 x 40 inch paper versions (her smallest size), larger sizes in Diasec mounts and/or as very large unique painted pieces mounted on aluminum with a UV laminate.
Either review all of Lisa Holden's photographs on the site, or, better yet, call us for availability.
Holden is represented exclusively outside of Europe by Contemporary Works, which can also sell her work in Europe.