Glasgow Painting & Printmaking School of Fine Art

Joanna Holisz (she/her)

On one side is the absurd and the exaggerated; on the other, the unassuming and the earnest. My work sits on both sides, unwilling to choose. Letting each side clash, tug, and then happily coexist in space, I experience blissful confusion.

Currently, my work makes reference to, discusses, and attempts to replicate the most magnificent piece of artwork to have ever existed, and enjoys the chaos which ensues in pursuit of this unattainable dream.

Contact
joannaholisz1998@hotmail.com
j.holisz1@student.gsa.ac.uk
Website
Instagram
Works
Empyrean Visions
Poems
The Alternative Degree Show Festival

EMPYREAN VISIONS is an ongoing enquiry which I started at the beginning of my final year, during Covid lockdown. Looking at theorists such as Clement Greenberg, Dan Fox and Susan Sontag, I began investigating perceptions of art and culture, exploring how an awareness of art history and theory can manipulate taste or the motivations for making an artwork (e.g. a work which falls under a term historically considered ‘bad taste’, like kitsch). I then began writing as an extension of my practice. By contrasting weighty, formidable themes with the mundane or the explicitly fallible through hyperbolic writing, I could challenge perceptions of sincerity.

I researched further modes of experimental writing and making like: ekphrasis (the description of visual art as a literary device), journals and autobiography (often with wordplay), spoken word, cento (works made up of quotations from other authors), autofiction, and parataxis (juxtaposing random/unrelated elements for effect). Parataxis especially intrigued me and I discovered it in various forms, like in Sue Tompkins’ performances and Hannah Weiner’s Clairvoyant Journal. I began thinking about Dante’s The Divine Comedy and visions of Empyrean (the highest point of heaven) as portrayed by Gustave Doré and others. In related literature, angels were regularly compared to bees (I found this in an article about The Divine Comedy and in Clarice Lispector’s Hour of the Star. A similar sentiment runs through Sylvia Plath’s Arrival of the Bee Box). I thought this a funny form of parataxis in itself: a swarm of bees can incite fear but produce sweet nectar; the swarm kills its male drones when void of function, yet bees are vital to human survival. Attempting to weave these juxtaposed elements into my work, I started to make paintings incorporating ambiguous symbols (flames which could be water; mountainous shapes which could be tools (inspired by Lee Lozano’s tool paintings) or phallic shapes; rings which could be depictions of planetary systems or Dante’s circles of Trinity) while trying to open up discussions around sincerity and perceptions of taste.

Inspired by representations of the dematerialised art object (e.g., Katrina Palmer’s work or Lozano’s Wave Paintings), I wrote and recorded some poems about an evasive object or artwork. I wanted to generate an autofiction and a blurry narrative voice. I used the dematerialised object as a stimulus to respond to rather than making it the subject of my work. The writing is hyperbolic, and the audio exists alongside the paintings, as if the paintings are a response – a reverse ekphrasis – to this preposterous masterpiece, loosely described through the poems, which has come and gone in a flash – like a comet. I am conscious of pictorial space in my practice, and my works are largely painted in transparent, turpy layers on paper or dry brush marks on unprimed canvas. I used layering to symbolise Dante’s stages of Hell but also to bring attention to paint as medium.

Empyrean Visions

    Photographs by Ross Finnie

Plunging Through Your Gluttonous Soul (2021)

Oil on Simili Japon paper, 64 x 48cm
For Sale: Price on Request

Churning Through the Minds of The Divine (2021)

Oil on Simili Japon paper, 64 x 48cm
For Sale: Price on Request

Mountain Submerged in a Bath of Honey (2021)

Watercolour on Simili Japon paper, 64 x 48cm
For Sale: Price on Request

In a Flash

Oil on tracing paper, 29.7 x 21cm
For Sale: Price on Request

And Then Upwards (2021)

Oil on unprimed, loose canvas 24 x 50cm
For Sale: Price on Request

Revolving Axes of Your Salted Earth (2021)

Oil on unprimed canvas 150 x 200cm
For Sale: Price on Request

'And Hurl Your Very Soul Into The Abyss' (2021)

Oil on unprimed canvas, 150 x 200cm
For Sale: Price on Request

In the Hues of Your Heaven (2021)

Oil on unprimed canvas 20 x 30cm
For Sale: Price on Request

it came and it went and it lasted in our eternal memory (2021)

Oil on unprimed canvas 20 x 30cm
For Sale: Price on Request

Missing Layers (2021)

Oil and graphite on canvas, 20 x 30 cm
For Sale: Price on Request

Poems

EMPYREAN VISIONS: POEMS

The Alternative Degree Show Festival

Some of my work will be shown physically at Part Two of The Alternative Degree Show Festival across Glasgow in July 2021

https://www.thealternativedegreeshowfestival.com/home

POSTER DESIGNED BY EMILY KNIGHT & FRANK ANDRES LLINAS CASAS

alt degree show festival