Friday, 24 May 2013

VPHG Artist Spotlight: - Kane Holahan

To round out our Artist Spotlight feature for the Anatomy exhibition, which finishes TODAY, we've got Kane Holahan in to answer some questions about his creative journey. Although new to exhibiting with VPHG, we clearly picked a great theme to showcase his works - with Kane providing 5 of the pieces in the Anatomy show.
Kane with his oil painting 'Aboriginal culture'
Who are you? Describe your artistic journey...
My name is Kane Holahan. My primary passion to begin with was zoology, in particular snakes and spiders. I have had an interest in biology since i was a very small child but i like many scientific fields. I studied biology and associated subjects in year 11 and 12 as I wanted to be a herpetologist (a scientist who studies reptiles and amphibians). however I must admit, I found the maths side of things quite challenging. I spent my teenage years searching for, photographing, capturing, and studying various species of reptiles and spiders with a small group of fellow Bendigo amateur herpetologists. I kept many species in captivity ranging from Northern Death Adders to Sydney funnel-web spiders. Photographing snakes in the mid nineties was my first introduction to the visual arts. At the same time, I also came up with designs for clothing inspired by nature e.g dressy shirts covered in small interconnected neurons, or microscopic pollen or fractals etc. I put the idea away like hundreds of others and may get it out again one day to develop it, who knows.

In 1999 I started to take poetry fairly seriously or at least the imagery in my poetry got more complex, some say schizophrenic. In the year 2000 I began working with the idea that creating transgenic organisms through genetic engineering would be the next art form. In 2002 I started drawing and oil painting, as at the time I had plenty of ideas but besides writing had no real way to express them. I picked up the camera again too. I am entirely self taught across all mediums that I work in. There is room to develop technique further, for sure. But my belief is that no one can teach you how to think in an original way. University to me, would just be a distraction.

What inspires you?
Even though my art may seem impersonal or cold, My fantasy world is where I feel most comfortable, I am not a very social person.I am motivated by an urge that has shaped and is an essential part of my nature, that is coming up with original ideas, I like to think i have been successful, at least a few times and hopefully more. Along with this, i place high value on building my own identity, having my own style, to be an individual influenced by very few, and for my mind to be free to roam. Despite this, I have been influenced to some degree by other people. Some scientists- Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, Kary Mullis. Some musicians- Kurt Cobain, Billy Corgan. I love driving around listening to music and thinking. My favorite album of all time is aenima by Tool. As far as visual artists go, I like the painters H.R. Giger, Francis Bacon and James Gleeson, I also don't mind some of the pop surrealist stuff that I've seen. I got into these painters after I had already developed my core beliefs.

What are the main mediums you work in?Poetry, oil painting, drawing, photography
North Harcourt Tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) Kane Holahan
How do you describe your work?
A lot of my work is dark, even disturbed. Especially the poetry, An apt description was when a man said it is striking but gruesome. I say I try to explore the potential of the physical world and it's not always pretty. But I can appreciate genuine beauty too. sometimes in my world the beauty and horror intermingle. 13 years ago a lady asked me where I want to go with my poetry? I replied " I want to create something beautiful" she gasped, i said " yeah, you cant go beyond the human experience but you can write about the beauty in the brutality".My oil paintings and drawings are a bit tamer, i often use bold colours in my paintings, some could be seen as potentially controversial. My drawings are quite varied, some are spontaneous and some have obviously taken more time to get right. As far as photography goes, I have nature photographs- venomous snakes, frogs etc, and more arty shots where i have set them up or had them altered.

Tell us about the specific pieces you're exhibiting at VPHG

Living, breathing sculpture
(Two-Headed Tiger Snake)
photograph of a sculpture

This piece is an actual neonate Two-Headed Tiger Snake, the first specimen of what I propose to be a knew species of Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus bicephalus) or what I have dubbed the "medusa snake". It survived for a few minutes then died. It represents ideas that I have had for over thirteen years that creating life, and manipulating life through genetic engineering can be an art form, however i prefer that the origins of how this specimen came into existence remain a mystery.

Female internal
Photograph of a sculpture

This is a photograph of a sculpture that i made out of clay, fabric, pins and lace. It's of the female internal reproductive organs (uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries) made to look like it is wearing female underwear. The female internal reproductive organs or any internal organs for that matter are rarely thought of outside the medical profession unless they get diseased. This piece shows them in a new and possibly confronting light. It is time to look below the surface, under the skin to examine them in an artistic way, the organs that make us function and procreate, in this case in a primal, bestial and to some no doubt disgusting, even creepy way. Or maybe its just material to some. It retains a feminine aesthetic but in effect, the viscera has been sexualized.


This is meant to represent a transgenic half human/half lizard organism. A possible future human variant, created in a laboratory and could be the next stage in biped evolution or just an aberration. This species is suited for life high up in the forest canopy. The prehensile tail used to secure itself when foraging in the tree tops and the long limbed broad shoulders and strong upper body strength ideal from swinging from branch to branch. Then again, it may only have skyscrapers to climb in the future. i envisioned this possible future organism existing on a diet of berries, fruit and leaves.

21st century genetically engineered Tarantula with Human eye on its abdomen

Tarantulas are arachnids that belong to the theraphosidae family of spiders. Some species are the largest living spiders in the world. A lot are docile, but some can be aggressive as well, but in a lot of species the venom is relatively harmless but the size of the fangs and chelicerae (jaws) would ensure a painful bite. This piece is meant to be a new species of tarantula that has had human DNA inserted into its genetic material and now has a human eye on its abdomen, A possible future product of the biotech age we now and will soon even more so, be living right amongst.
Tarantulas have eight typically poorly developed eyes and can barely tell the difference between night and day. That's why I have given this photo of a tarantula a human eye, so that it can see any predators attacking from above such as birds etc. Also it is also engaging with the viewer with a part of the anatomy 'the eye' crucial for visual cues and communication in human interaction. So you look at this, to some a "creepy creature" and it is gazing back at you, stirring up conflicting emotions. That was the intention anyway.

What are you working on currently?
I always have many works in progress but some, i don't return to for years. But recent ones that i have been working on is a painting of a half pig/half human getting crucified on a cross, entitled Porcine Jesus (pigs squeal because they are closer to hell). Another one is a bit morbid, it's a self portrait of my decapitated head in a landscape with a real human tooth on my cheek.
I also have political works and works that deal with a variety of other topics. Not all are influenced by biology and science. In fact, a lot aren't. I have between 200-300 ideas,some in progress, to keep me busy for a while, and i come up with new ideas all the time.

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