Photography and gestural mark-making collide in these dramatic, often large scale photographic prints. Exploring a tenuous relationship with the photographic image, Birtle’s work is devoid of a particular physicality. Holly Birtles defaces and manipulates the photographic image using a wide range of media and a complex mix of darkroom and digital processes. In this series she focuses on the portraiture of opera singers during performance. A vital sensory perception has been eradicated from the photograph in the act of ‘flattening’. An elaborate perpetual procedure ironically and faithfully presented as a photographic print – homogenised, focused and flattened.
Images from The Opera Series were shown at Material Light – Westminster and I wish I knew how it would feel to be free will be shown at Material Light – Belgrade.
Holly Birtles graduated from The University of Westminster (2008) and The Slade School of Art (2011). She continues to push the flat nature of the photograph via gestural mark-making, additions of clay and digital lumps.