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    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Saatchi Art
Saatchi Store
Current Exhibition

Sigrid Holmwood EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

The Last Peasant-Painters Peeling Potatoes (Old Woman Mill)
Sigrid Holmwood
The Last Peasant-Painters Peeling Potatoes (Old Woman Mill)

2007

Fluorescent orange egg tempera; lead white, Prussian blue, Chrome yellow light, lead antimonate, Bohemian green earth, Spanish glazing ochre; iron oxide in soured milk; birch leaf lake in pine resin on board

122 x 142 cm
“I use things made by hand by other people,” Holmwood adds, “such as paint brushes, reproduction period pottery, wooden bowls, hand blown glass, all mixed in with modern things. I like the idea that I’m partaking in other peoples’ crafts and skills.” Holmwood’s historical investigation is carried through in her chosen subjects and aesthetics. Half Swedish, Holmwood is inspired by the 19th-century peasant painters of the Darlarna province, whose folk art is a national symbol of Sweden. Based on an archive photo of the actual last peasant painter, the figures in The Last Peasant Painters Peeling Potatoes (Old Woman Mill) are sat in front of a typical Dalecarlian composition. The image seen on the wall is based on a folk legend of old women who are ground up in a mill and emerge rejuvenated. “I painted the woodwork using a technique which these artists used to represent mahogany,” Holmwood reveals. “It’s paint glazed with a sour milk and pigment mixture and sealed with oil. It gives a psychedelic effect.”
Old Woman Hugging A Goat
Sigrid Holmwood
Old Woman Hugging A Goat

2008

Fluorescent lemon yellow, fluorescent flame red, lead white, cochineal, ultramarine, green earth, Spanish red ochre in egg tempera and oils on board

122 x 153 cm
Sigrid Holmwood strives to get to the absolute heart of painting: not just as an activity, but as a material substance, entrenched with history, inherited knowledge and innate meaning. Holmwood’s Technicolor canvases seem oddly contemporary, especially considering how they’re made. With anorak enthusiasm, Holmwood trawls centuries-old archives and internet forums and consults conservationists, chemists, and herbalists to revive the lost recipes of paint-making. Her pigments and glazes are concocted entirely from scratch and include all manner of ingredients both common and exotic, from precious stones to ground up bugs. “I use these traditions playfully, and expand upon them,” Holmwood explains. “I’m less interested in actual recreations than their modern possibilities. In Hugging A Goat, for example, I mixed fluorescent pigment in egg tempera.”
Church Boats
Sigrid Holmwood
Church Boats

2007

Fluorescent egg tempera; lead white, iron oxide, raw sienna, Spanish glazing ochre, red lead, French ultramarine in oils; birch leaf lake in pine resin on board

137 x 122 cm
Church Boats depicts an enactment of a midsummer festival from Rättvik, in the region of Dalarna, where villagers cross a lake to attend church in boats adorned with wreaths made from birch. The yellow paint used in the scene is made from birch leaves. Its style and hues are reminiscent of impressionism. “I am interested in 19thc themes,” Holmwood says of her nostalgic aesthetics. “That’s the period when they started to feel rural culture was being lost, and artists made a real political gesture against the city. Van Gogh went to Provence to live with peasants, and likened the act of painting to the peasants ploughing their fields. I like the idea that there is a history of artists doing that, artists trying to rough it. The psychedelic colours refer to the hippie movement, going back to the land, living in communes, which is a similar sentiment. I think these ‘hippie ideas’ are having a resurgence today with people growing their own vegetables in allotments and the ‘slow food movement’... I think of my work as being a ‘slow painting movement’.”
Mother and Child
Sigrid Holmwood
Mother and Child

2007

Fluorescent brick red egg tempera; Cobalt turquoise, lead antimonate, red lead, lead white, Prussian blue in oils; iron oxide in soured milk on board

91 x 74 cm
Holmwood’s Swedish scenes were often developed from sketches she made of the interpreters at the Skansen Museum on the island Djurgården in Stockholm. The island houses actual historic buildings transported from all over the country. The museum’s gallery guides wear traditional dress and demonstrate antique tools and olden-day skills. Mother and Child is a portrait of a woman taking part in a live diorama in a house representing the area of Darlarna. Holmwood was interested in this scene’s suggestion of heritage, the knowledge and experience passed from one generation to the next, giving formation and grounding to contemporary identity.
Sámi Couple
Sigrid Holmwood
Sámi Couple

2007

Fluorescent yellow orange, fluorescent flame red egg tempera, Chrome yellow, lead white, Cochineal, madder, French ultramarine, Prussian blue, lead antimonate, Viridian in oils on board

61 x 75 cm
Sámi Couple features museum invigilators portraying the indigenous people of the northern Nordic areas in a nomadic tepee setting. Holmwood considers her work in relation to an increasing trend to “integrate history into representing everyday life,” and cites interactive museum displays and television documentaries as examples of this movement. She describes her intensive processes as an “experimental archaeology, discovering the nature of materials by really using them.” Despite her ongoing research, Holmwood’s days in her studio are mainly spent painting; extracting pigments is a long process that doesn’t require constant attention. As she often works with organic materials such as milk and eggs, she mixes her paints at the beginning of each day, but never makes notes. Her paintings often incorporate very pure pigments as composite colours can’t be exactly reproduced.
Frying Fish
Sigrid Holmwood
Frying Fish

2007

Fluorescent egg tempera, bohemian green earth egg tempera; verdigris, cochineal, lead white, lead antimonate, raw umber,bohemian green earth, Spanish red ochre in oils on board

110 x 122 cm
In England Holmwood is a member of a Tudor re-enactment group; at their meetings, held at historical preservation sites around the country, they live an authentic 16th c lifestyle and re-learn the life-skills of the past. “We don’t pretend to be in the olden days,” Holmwood makes clear. “We are modern people discovering how things work through doing it.” The group collaborates in historical research and shares their knowledge. In the club, which includes ironmongers, leatherworkers, clothes weavers, Holmwood is, of course, an Early Modern artist. Holmwood explains: “The 16th-century is technically Early Modern rather than Medieval. It’s the beginnings of contemporary art. The art market and the first stock market emerged in Antwerp, and genre painting such as peasants and landscapes started to develop. The development of artists painting peasants through art history is a reflection of increasing urbanism.” Frying Fish was completed during an excursion to Avoncroft in Bromsgrove, and pictures a friend cooking kippers. Reminiscent of Gauguin’s rustic exotica, the ceramic-like painting technique replicates the actual glaze effect of the jar seen on the counter.
Making Lye
Sigrid Holmwood
Making Lye

2007

Fluorescent egg tempera, lead antimonate, raw sienna, raw umber, bohemian green earth, lead white in oils on board

130 x 110 cm
“Making Lye is based on a re-enactment we did in London.” Holmwood recalls. “Lye was used for soap, and is made by pouring water through wood ash. We were making it to show how people did laundry; however, lye was also used in making pigments.” In depicting this ritual, Holmwood draws from both the chemical and creative traditions of her craft. The composition, subject, and ephemeral tones of this piece can be compared to Barbizon painters such as Jean-François Millet, whose canvases championed the modest life of the countryside, and the value of nature and labour. Holmwood’s classical scene harks back to a time when life seemed a lot less complicated; its simple, unassuming beauty derived from the time-honoured virtue of taking pride in one’s work.






Other artists in
NEWSPEAK: BRITISH ART NOW

Caroline Achaintre    Tasha Amini    Hurvin Anderson    Maurizio Anzeri    Jonathan Baldock    Anna Barriball    Steve Bishop    Karla Black    Lynette Yiadom Boakye    Pablo Bronstein    Alan Brooks    Carla Busuttil    Nicholas Byrne    Gareth Cadwallader    Juliana Cerqueira Leite    Spartacus Chetwynd    Steven Claydon    Clarisse d'Arcimoles    William Daniels    Matthew Darbyshire    Graham Durward    Tim Ellis    Tom Ellis    Richard Evans    Tessa Farmer    Marcus Foster    Robert Fry    Ximena Garrido-Lecca    Jaime Gili    Nick Goss    Luke Gottelier    Kate Groobey    Anthea Hamilton    Anne Hardy    Gabriel Hartley    Nicholas Hatfull    Iain Hetherington    Alexander Hoda    Sigrid Holmwood    Systems House    James Howard    Graham Hudson    Des Hughes    Dean Hughes    Mustafa Hulusi    Paul Johnson    Edward Kay    Idris Khan    Scott King    Ansel Krut    Peter Linde Busk     littlewhitehead    Alastair MacKinven    Goshka Macuga    Ryan Mosley    Rupert Norfolk    Arif Ozakca    Mark Pearson    Dan Perfect    Peter Peri    Olivia Plender    Henrijs Preiss    Ged Quinn    Clunie Reid    Barry Reigate    Luke Rudolf    Maaike Schoorel    Daniel Silver    David Brian Smith    Renee So    Fergal Stapleton    Clare Stephenson    Caragh Thuring    Phoebe Unwin    Donald Urquhart    Jonathan Wateridge    John Wynne    Toby Ziegler

Sigrid Holmwood's BIOGRAPHY

Sigrid Holmwood
1978
Born in Hobart, Australia

Lives and works in London


SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2008
1847- Painting, Annely Juda Fine Art, London

2006
Past-times and Re-creation, Transition, London
Self-sufficient, Contemporary Arts Projects, London


2004
La Pittura Sale sugli Alberi, 42contemporaneo, Modena, Italy


GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2009
The Artist's Studio, Compton Verney, Warwickshire (see other resources page)
Back to the Future: young artists look to old masters, at Robilant and Voena/ Stair Sainty

2008
Painting Room, Transition Gallery, London

2007
Artificial Glory, Standpoint Gallery, London
Cunning Chapters, The British Library, London

2006
The Spiral of Time, APT, London
Responding to Rome, Estorick Collection, London

2005
The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2005, Jerwood Space, London (touring)
Spiral of Time, OHOA, Reading
Hand in Hand we walk alone, Clapham Art Gallery, London
Pocket-Scopic, Sartorial Contemporary Art, London

2004
If you go down to the woods today…, Rockwell Gallery, London
Spazi Aperti, Romanian Academy, Rome, Italy
Extra-Natura: Konst! Scopriamo la Svezia, 42contemporaneo, Modena, Italy
Compass, Sala 1, Rome, Italy

2003
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2003, Manchester, London
Vaguely Romantic, Rosie Wilde, London
Rockwell, Rockwell Gallery London