Anthropo/scene Series (2017) 300cm x 180 cm acrylic on paper

Over the years, I have explored a range of subjects including the overlooked everyday; unnoticed urban edgelands; conflict and identity; and the power of the establishment post-2009. They are linked by an over-arching exploration of a fundamental dissonant cognitive state throughout society. We inhabit a world trying to make sense of conflicting simulataneous beliefs. In June 2016, it seemed to me that all my artistic concerns collided in a perfect storm with the Brexit referendum result. This was re-emphasised by the election events in the USA, and populist threats in Europe. 

 

I used to investigate ideas, make sketches, take random photos and build up narrative work. I used recognisable imagery to challenge and question pre-conceived ideas about our world. Post-2016, my own confusion resulted in a 

retreat within. I stopped consciously thinking about events surrounding me and instead began to make work entirely from within: no reference sources, no figures, no imagery, no photos and no sketching. 

 

Two residencies in 2017 further developed this thinking and approach. Developing huge surfaces not knowing in any way how they might develop was scary but rewarding. The process itself became emblematic of the uncertainty within global society.

 

The early works in this period were titled  “Anamnesis”. In Greek philosophy, "'anamnesis' is the closest that human minds can come to experiencing the freedom of the soul prior to its being encumbered by matter”. In keeping with Anamnesis both as a subject and a process, I had no idea where this would lead. More recent works evolved informed by ideas of the Anthropocene (our current man-made earth era); the Cassandra motif; and ambiguous figurative imagery suggesting submission, surrender and falling.

© 2017 Gillian Holding