The exhibition features new two- and three-dimensional works in ceramic, crochet, fabric and pencil, and an earlier Eraserhead drawing that acts as a touchstone for this body of work. United by attitude rather than medium or method, Christian Holstad’s work probes received ideas about class, value, culture and society, often leading the viewer on richly evocative journeys into cycles of creation, growth, consumption and dissipation. While many of the works impress upon us the intensity of their hand-crafted surfaces, hands and gloves feature literally as well as figuratively in the works on display. In one instance, a sculpture of a pair of boxing gloves is made from oven mitts; in another, an early example of the artist’s celebrated Eraserhead drawings (Grain fields, 2003), in which Holstad selectively erases sections of images cut from newspapers and magazines, meaning is altered in ways that hint at subtextual layers through the image.
Some of the artworks are the result of a close collaboration with Italian ceramicists, of an extended period living and working in Faenza, – home to the historical manufacture of majolica ware known as faience -. This reveals how the artist developed new ways of working with clay, expanding on the vast array of techniques which he has been honing over three decades, borrowing from American, English and Japanese traditions.