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  • Writer's pictureJo Dyer

Sigrid Holmwood

Sigrid Holmwood was suggested to me by Steve Rendell in my last group crit, noting that her clear agenda with regards to painting and decolonisation might be of interest. Through her practice, Sigrid has sought to truly expand painting through its networks (as noted by Joselit1.) and her exploration of the materiality of paint has led her to uncover precolonial approaches to producing pigment, such as those derived from plants, which she has incorporated into her practice. She also incorporates performance into her practice, including performances such as pigment-making demonstrations into her exhibitions.

image: screenshot from Sigrid's project page: Maya Blue source:

The relevance here to my own practice is firstly Sigrid's approach to expanding her painting practice, including her consideration of the materiality of paint and incorporation of the process of making paint into her practice. By seeking to work backwards and deconstruct my painting practice this semester I've arrived at a similar materialistic approach and sought to be more attentive to my choice of media and adapt my processes to reflect this intention. This has led me to experiment with pigments that are earth-derived and non toxic (noting that many "natural" pigments are highly toxic containing elements such as heavy metals) and to explore making paint with a commercial plant-based binder as an alternative to acrylic.

When in Mexico in 2019 I attented a studio that creates alebrijes2 (a traditional practice of creating handcarved and painted sculptures of mythical creatures). At this studio they demonstrated how they derive some of their pigments from native plants which was very interesting.

The material link to plants, given that they are such a primary focus of my practice, is worth some consideration, along the lines of these processes. Like Sigrid, I can see the interest in exploring the possibility of producing pigment from plants that may be accessible in my local area and even cultivating some plants for this purpose in the garden that I have started in front of my studio at SMAC.


1. David Joselit, "Painting Beside Itself", October Magazine, Ltd. and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, OCTOBER 130 (Fall 2009): 125–134.

2. The studio was that of Jacobo and Maria Angeles, located in San Martín Tilcajete, Oaxaca

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