Nina Holmes

Nina Holmes grew up in Cape Town obtaining a B.A. Perf Dip (Distinction) from UCT (1986) and a Post Graduate Diploma Fine Art (Distinction) from UCT Michaelis (2017). She has exhibited in various group shows since 2007, the most recent being Latitudes Online and the JHB Art Fair. She has had 3 Solo exhibitions at Eclectica Contemporary including a Solo booth at the Cape Town Art Fair (February 2020). Her work can be found in private collections locally and internationally.

In my 25-year painting practice my style and interest has moved from realistic portraiture depiction to a looser, larger style of abstraction. In my former years the verisimilitude of my subject was all important, in a kind of childlike “look what likeness I can achieve”.  As much as I appreciate the skill and talent of painting recognizable subjects, I have come to realise that my current practice is not about that. Since the late 90’s, I became fascinated with the idea of binary codes - the idea of concurrent opposing forces existing together that creates an arresting tension. The combined duality and ambivalence residing in all matter at any time has propelled me to try to capture this concept in my work.

 As my formative background resides in performance, I have always used the body as a vehicle of expression. This has continued into my art making which for me is a highly charged physical act. The relevance of performance lies in its ability to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. I try to work from this principle in my art. I am wholly immersed in the feeling of the work.

The materiality and mutability of the ‘thing’ created is a very exciting process for me. Creativity is, by nature not knowing what is going to happen next. Thus, there is no appeal in knowing the outcome of my paintings. In this regard my practice centres around layering, covering, scraping back, reinstating. Very often on recycled board, canvas, textile material. Always looking for a kind of unspoken complexity reflecting existing contradictions. The words of artist Albert Oehlen resonate strongly with me. Oehlen speaks of “qualities that I want to see brought together: delicacy and coarseness, colour and vagueness, and underlying them all, a base note of hysteria.”