Laurel Holmes

Laurel Holmes

South Africa | 33 artworks for sale

As a South African artist, my work is drawn from a strong attachment to this land, its sense of place and the life it supports. An interest in the indigenous flora of this country comes from generations of farming, plant propagation and love for the beauty these natural forms offer.
A deep love for nature and natural places, and acknowledgment of its role in spiritual restoration, strongly impacts my work. “This earth is what sustains us, its intricacies are endlessly fascinating and immeasurable and yet how irreverently this natural world is stewarded.”
In 2012, I left a career in corporate life to concentrate solely on artmaking. Over the years of practicing art, inspiration and reference has repeatedly been rooted in the Cape landscape, where I now live.
My chosen media are painting and printmaking and recently, more experimental works using mixed media, where a process of layering builds complex, intriguing surfaces. Mark making, the richness of paint and the beauty of accidental results from allowing spontaneity to find its way into the artmaking process offsets a fascination with detail. My artworks are an intuitive articulation of a response to my environment, informed by the observation of the patterns and order of forms that occur in nature.
I have works in local and international private collections and local corporate collections.

Laurel Holmes (b.1964) is a South African painter and printmaker based in Kommetjie, Cape Town. In 2012 after a career in corporate life, she began to concentrate solely on artmaking. Predominantly a still life and landscape artist, Laurel's work is drawn from a strong attachment to the land, its sense of place and the life it supports. Her interest in the indigenous flora stems from generations of farming, plant propagation and love for the beauty these natural forms offer.

Selected Exhibitions:
Mpumalanga Diaspora - group exhibition at White River Gallery, curated by Karin Daymond
Vessel - group exhibition at RK Contemporary, Riebeek Kasteel
Water Mark - solo exhibition at StateoftheART, Cape Town.

‘Light from Dark’ (printmakers in conversation with Alma Vorster)
‘She’ (Riebeek Kasteel Contemporary)
Turbine Art Fair (White River Gallery)
joined The Printing Girls by invitation and exhibited (The Artroom Parkhurst)

‘Surface and Depth’ (Gallery 2, with Danielle Malherbe)
nano 1.3 (Barnard Gallery)
Turbine Art Fair (Gallery 2 and White River Gallery)
‘Don’t drink the milk’ (No End Gallery)
‘Land & Sea’ (Art on Avenues)
‘Say Africa’ (White River Gallery)
Initiator of Kommetjie Open Studios event.

The White River Gallery re-launch exhibition;
Innibos: ‘Mosterd na de Maal’
Turbine Art Fair (Gallery 2, Halifax Art)
nano 1.2 (Barnard Gallery)
‘As it was’ (White River Gallery group exhibition).
Contributed to GIF4 (The Artists’ Press)(copies of GIF purchased by the Smithsonian and the V&A Museum).

Group exhibitions included ‘Disclosure’ and the SA Fine Art Print Fair (Halifax Art)
‘Earth Garden’ and Turbine Art Fair (Gallery 2) and other group exhibitions with Carol Lee Fine Art, In Toto Gallery, Liebrecht Gallery and State of the Art.

Turbine Art Fair (Gallery 2)
‘Surface matters’ (Halifax Art)
‘Scapes’ (State of the Art) and Liebrecht Gallery.

Various group exhibitions at In Toto Gallery, Halifax Art, Rotary Art Festival, the inaugural SA Fine Art Print Fair.

Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
The use of digital techniques being incorporated into printworks – for example, Emma Willemse. And always Karin Daymond’s paintings. There’s a ‘pull’ to stand in front of them - even when the painting is physically small, you’re still looking at a large landscape. And I find Peter Eastman’s dark paintings intriguing.
Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?

Esrom Legae – the sensitivity of line in his drawing and print work, and strength of the images are beautiful. Working in a socio-political environment when it must have been extremely difficult.  

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

Frans Oerder’s ‘Magnolias’.

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?

As children, my mom encouraged my sisters and I to be creative – bake, draw, paint, explore a range of crafts.  When I went to university, I wanted to study Fine Art but not having taken art as a subject at school, I didn’t have the confidence to study it so ended up doing a BCom instead. While working, I started Fine Art through Unisa (but couldn’t finish) and took drawing and painting classes from time to time. I left the corporate environment in 2012 to work as a full time artist, and recently relocated from Johannesburg to Cape Town. I have had painting training with two remarkable artists themselves, Karin Daymond and Ricky Burnett.

What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?

The loss of a visual aesthetic through environmental degradation and the lack of stewardship of our natural resources and natural environs, as well as the impact of this loss of natural areas on the human psyche.

What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?

That my remarkable father, who is in his 90s, until recently was precision-making my canvas stretchers.

Tell us more about your creative process.
There’s no fixed process but usually on visiting a new place and spending some time in a new natural environment, there are new references that relate to something I have been thinking that I work on immediately I return to my studio. Other times, there are ideas that I’ve had but their time is not yet and so they percolate for a period, even years, before permeating into a medium and physical works result. When the time happens, all I want to do is work with this and I experiment, particularly in print, to get to an outcome.   

What drives you as an artist?
I think as with most visual artists, it’s to express oneself in one’s chosen media. A curiosity to see if I can make something beautiful of the reference I am using yet still manage to convey a message through the works.  

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?

Hard to choose one work, and there are many that I have been very sad to see move to new homes, but there is a landscape painting that parents’ bought (pic attached) that I am very attached to.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Someone who wanted to buy one of my paintings, on finding that it was sold, said it was fine, as the panting had done its job. She said it evoked a very emotional response (read a seriously good cry), which was worth hours of therapy.

What are your aspirations for the future?
To make bigger work and to move towards making more abstract work.

Pick three artists you would love to exhibit with. Why?

Karin Daymond –  challenges me!
Natasha Norman Moodley – sets the example of (beautiful) ‘abstract’ water environments
Elize Vossgatter – the scale of her paintings is remarkable and would also test my ability to produce work that could hold up

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