In Myriam Holme's (b.1971) new works, loose, gestural brushstrokes enter into dialogue with shimmering gold, silver and copper surfaces of composition metals. Bold spray can drawings stand next to coloured paper scraps, pieces of tape and variously applied watercolours. Colour pigments, soap, varnish, stain and various chemicals react with cool-looking aluminium surfaces, plastic foils or cast picture supports made of plaster–the diversity of materials in Myriam Holme's works is reminiscent of alchemists' kitchens or universal geniuses and yet is grounded in the socio-political here and now in cycles of recycling.
At the same time, her handling of materialities is extremely diverse: bent, painted, glued, pressed through, rubbed, gilded and sometimes treated with chemicals, overlaid with soap or sprinkled with salt crystals–Myriam Holme's concept of painting is currently moving more decidedly in an expanded space than probably ever before. Thus, all the new series of works in her solo exhibition glanz, kartographiert are borne by a special mood of departure within Myriam Holme's previous oeuvre. She skilfully combines different strands of her artistic language and in this way, creates entirely new series of works that fascinate both through their compaction and their simultaneous lightness.
She maps out basic questions of her artistic exploration of pictorial space, surrounding space, material and motifs in essential reflection and thereby finds new aesthetic formations that bundle her previous artistic settings as if in a ray of light. One of the facets that shine brightly here is the gloss that gives her title, which breaks through in her works in varying ways– sometimes silvering large areas, sometimes in extremely fine gold speckles and sometimes in geometric copper strokes. Surface and form, the intrinsic law of the material and the painterly gesture characterise her works alternately, always in a precisely balanced equilibrium.
Myriam Holme's works are united by a special use of materials, which often encompasses a particular temporality. Her most recent works contain mostly used materials, such as printing plates or plastic foils, whose previous traces of use she partly incorporates into her pictorial inventions. In her new wall-sized work glanz, kartographiert (2021), she uses so called 'Gelbe Säcke', which are used every day to separate recyclable plastics, metals and composites, as image carriers. On the plastic bags of the recycling cycle, she applies silver leafs and places loose painterly traces over them with pink spray paint. A play with >High< and >Low< characterises the tension potential of Holme's works. The silvering of rubbish collection bags is as humorous as it is ecologically and politically legible and, especially in combination with spray paint–which in turn is reminiscent of graffiti or protest gestures–opens up a wide range of possible associations in terms of both content and formal depth.
In the process, chance in the form of found signs of time as traces of use enters into an inseparable liaison with precise aesthetic settings of the composition. The special tension of Myriam Holme's works arises from the interplay of material peculiarities, processual shaping and targeted artistic design. Existing traces are subtly incorporated into new pictorial inventions and transformed into an artistic statement. She expands questions of authorship through open processes that she initiates with her extensive knowledge of materials. The outcome of these processes is partly left to concrete dynamics of their own in order to work out what is already inherent in the material. Layering reveals the temporality in the material traces and plays with overpainting, blending and visibility.
The used materials transport a special reference to time, which can be deciphered on the basis of various traces and recently even includes legible parts of the printing plates used. On closer inspection, one discovers in some works individual capital letters or even traces of paint from the previous use of the printing plates on the metal background of their pictorial settings. On her work rancoo (2021), for example, the mirror-inverted reference to a Corona vaccination is recognisable, which makes the work a contemporary witness on yet another level. Myriam Holme humorously transforms found objects into art that still carry a hint of the previous use of the material and open up a space of possibility that reports on the historicity of art and material in a very unique way.
At the same time, the titles of her works repeatedly reveal her poetic vein and her determined play with linguistic structures. Just as she reorganises the individual letters of the colloquial viral name into a new creation here, she creates new works with far-reaching and often humorous courts of association from used materials and found structures. In the connection of her works with their respective titles, new, poetic spaces of thought of alternative realities open up.
Myriam Holme's works skilfully oscillate between traditional art genres and carry both clearly painterly and sculptural components, while she additionally combines with drawing or printing aspects to create hybrids all of her own. The metal or plastic supports, overlaid with various layers of paint and material, usually start from a flat surface and are deformed into three-dimensional space. This results in increasingly large-format and even room-filling installations that dissolve painting into space.
Open narratives characterise the abstract works, which reveal the material genesis of the painterly-sculptural process and yet never allow it to become clear. At the same time, Myriam Holme's works fascinate with their massive fragility, their powerful presence, their metallic lightness and floating ambiguity of extended painting. At the same time, her works playfully and enigmatically conquer their own space with great determination in precise aesthetic settings. Myriam Holme impressively maps the possibilities of the painterly in space in her poetic pictorial inventions.
Text: Julia Katharina Tiemann. Press release courtesy Bernhard Knaus Fine Art.