Dana Holst

Home: Edmonton, Alberta
Title: Lo and Behold
Media: Oil on panel / huile sur panneau
Dimensions: 81 x 81 cm
Website: www.danaholst.com

Lo and Behold is from The Tell-Tale Heart, a recent body of work about bullying from a female perspective.  It is both deeply personal and societal, based on observations from my own life and influenced by daily news events.

The evolution of my oil paintings has increasingly focused on minute detail, old master techniques such as under-painting and glazing, and a sort of mental and psychological stroking of paint surface, in my hopes to create jewel-like fantastical landscapes for the viewer to escape into, sort of like a trip to OZ.  Ever present is my use of young female characters to act out scenes of the complex human condition, my morality dilemmas, through the use of self-portraits and vintage photographs.

Lo and Behold depicts two smug girls in ball gowns who’ve confidently joined forces against their chosen prey — a self portrait, portraying a naked and finger nail scratched girl, trying to quietly disappear into the thorny climbing roses of William Morris wallpaper.  The theme of this piece is relational aggression, the exclusion of one girl from the group in a show of ultimate power over another, destroying emotional and physical wellbeing.  With this piece, I’ve laboured over the wallpaper, working impasto paint into it to make it succulent and inviting, but thorny and full of hurt.  The floor, a checkerboard of two colors of marble was purposefully made off-kilter, to create a sense of vertigo and collapse or melting.  The gowns of the two conspirators were obsessively and masochistically worked and reworked.  I’d say that my paintings represent self-inflicted pain in their handling, it’s as if I feel they must delight on the minutest level, otherwise I’ve failed.

1995 Honors B.A. Fine Arts University of Waterloo

2013 The Tell-Tale Heart  Galerie St-Laurent + Hill, Ottawa, ON
2012 Lo & Behold  Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, Toronto, ON
2011 Sometimes Rainbows are Black  The Red Head Gallery, Toronto, ON

2014 Betwixt and Between  The Reach Museum, Abbotsford, BC
2013 La Vie Fantastique Curated by Shane Golby, AGA Trex Program
2011 Duo Exhibition with Ufuk Gueray, Odd Gallery, Dawson City, YT

2012 Canada Council Project Grant
2011 Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Project Grant

Other Relevant Information
2011 – 2012 Associate Visual Artist for the French Theatre – NAC, Ottawa ON, Selected by Wajdi Mouawad, Director