We run an online magazine, so of course, we're interested in what's happening with art on the web. We invited online gallerist, founder, and curator of Digital Sweat Gallery, Christian Petersen, to write a bi-monthly column for us. Every other Wednesday he'll be selecting a Web Artist of the Week. This week Petersen profiles Faith Holland, who has curated a selection of her work for ArtSlant.
New York-based Faith Holland only started making work within the medium about five years ago, but has quickly become a celebrated and beloved member of the new media art scene. Her often sexually suggestive work tackles serious subjects but usually has a strong and wry sense of humor running through it. The irreverent, self-aware joyfulness found in Holland's work is also a thread that runs through much contemporary new media art, and is something that separates it from, but is also hugely inspirational to, the wider world of contemporary art.
There is an ever-strengthening intersection between feminism and net art and Holland is a principle player within that movement. “It's hard to say precisely why,” she says, “perhaps it's the male-dominated culture that surrounds technology and net art.” Perhaps her strongest expression of this position is her recent series of Ookie Canvases, works consisting of digitally manipulated images of ejaculate provided by male artists. It has not always been easy to secure these images though. Holland explains:
Male artists are not that willing to contribute and it's not at all surprising. Women are taught that their bodies are part of their value as humans and readily use their bodies as tools for their work and others. Men don't have this training, so to draw men out to use their bodies for my work, even men who work on sexuality like I do, can be a challenge. I am relying on individual pleas and peer pressure instead.
Holland's interest in sex and sexuality stems from her time at Vassar College in New York. Of her education she says:
I worked on an erotica magazine called Squirm and also was studying pornography as a Media Studies student. Those ideas really gripped me, but I didn't end up making work about those themes until much later when I began thinking about the internet thematically. The internet naturally leads to pornography, because it is so prevalent, and that has ballooned out to thinking about sexuality and technology more broadly.
Holland personally curated this selection of her work especially for ArtSlant.
(All images courtesy of Faith Holland)
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