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An Interview with Carli Holcomb

Greg Minissale: What does ‘dirt’ mean to you?

Carli Holcomb: When I think of dirt, I can’t help but think of digging. Of pushing my hands deep in the fragments of the earth. Micro landscapes from centuries ago, caught in the peripheral, clinging to our clothes, catching in our eyes, and collecting in our homes. Dirt feels like a witness. A claim that is broad, and forgetful of consciousness, but for nearly five billion years, if not more, dirt has been watching as the boundless mystery of our world, and those like it unfold.

GM: Could you tell us what materials you are drawn to and the specific techniques you adopted for Once More, Unknowable Terrain and Amalgamate?

CH: I have always believed places sink into us. Out of respect, I let the sites I am working in guide the materials I use. By pairing opulent surfaces with tokens of the landscape, I allow materials whose sources originate in nature to sit side by side with materials that exist because of human design. In Unknowable terrain I used materials I consider directly enlivened by the cosmos, metals like silver and gold that are formed during the core collapse of supernovae. These material origins enable a perceptual shift between cosmic and human scales, and create a dialogue about the fundamental ethos of space. I have to acknowledge, that with the multitude of materials artists have access to at this time, and of the nearly infinite options, I have chosen to work with or replicate the very substance of the earth.

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