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.

© Natasha Hoare, 2015

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