Desirée Holman

Desirée Holman works in a variety of mediums—painting, drawing, sculpture, video, photography—often combining all of these in elaborate video productions that involve masks, costumes, and the choreography of multiple participants.  At the heart of Holman’s investigations—which are conducted in the manner of an armchair anthropologist, as the artist herself puts it—are questions surrounding alternative realities, the performance of identity, and the relationship between self and other.  Holman invokes figures that often serve as the focus of human projection: chimpanzees, baby dolls, virtual avatars, and aliens. To this end, she designs and constructs masks and props of such figures, and invites performers to act out fantasy scenarios. Channeling Aura 1 depicts the artist herself wearing an alien mask and is one of a recent body of works on paper—themselves part of a larger project that is in progress—that is concerned with aliens, auras, astrology, and spiritual pseudo-sciences more broadly. Another work depicts the aura of Paracelsus, the 16th century physician, alchemist, astrologer, and occultist.

gouache and watercolor on paper
30 x 22 in
Courtesy the artist and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco. © Desirée Holman