'24 Hands' Solo Exhibition

‘Public Order Act : Where 12 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose; and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety, each of the persons using unlawful violence for the common purpose is guilty of riot.’

Holmans ‘Destriers’ series locates governance and state violence in both public and domestic spaces, exploring working class protest, crowd theory and police control strategies, as part of an English heritage that first appears in the Bayeux Tapestry. Holman identifies subjugation by horseback as a key visual element of the tapestry, and as the beginning of an unbroken chronology of equestrian governance, that persists to this day.

The pieces in the exhibition are narrated by Holman’s audio artwork; ‘A Century of Industrial Violence.’ This oral performance by English actor, Christopher Eccleston, proposes a relentless history of uprisings that begin with the formation of the Labour Party in 1900, and conclude with the anti-capitalist protests of 2000 and the global anxiety of the ‘millennium bug.’ This period also signifies what Holman refers to as a ‘crisis of identity’ in working class communities, as industry declined and whole areas of the country are laid waste. Holman is clear about the explanation, but is interested in the impact, both politically and socially.

Photographed by Holman, and painted in China, Holman’s ‘In Every Home a Heartache’ paintings, consist of traditional family portraits re worked as large scale portraits in oil, referring to an upper class tradition of family portraiture better placed in country estates or museums, with the twist that the patriarchal figure is painted wearing a balaclava. This language of terror is activated by the relentless narration of the audio in the gallery, as Eccleston reads through the years, month by month, week by week, taking us from outbreaks of arson, to the miners strike, poll tax riots and the small and large violence that perhaps define us as a nation. This chronology is further activated by oil paintings of mounted police that evoke an upper class tradition of equestrian painting, in direct opposition to the family portraits.

The horse is a recurring emblem of control in these works, from Medieval tapestry to the football terraces and every worker's strike, public protest, civil march, royal coronation, riot and acid house rave in between, Holman reminds us that crowds on foot are ridden down by men on horseback, the uniform of class barely changing since 1066. This medieval uniform extends into Holmans ceramic works, where truncheons, riot sticks and rubber bullets, designed for crowd control in all of the activities listed above, are delicately cast and repositioned as objects that are found in the home, revealing the fragility of the people who experience them directly. Ultimately Holman is concerned with the everyday banality of violence and these works are both bleak in their relentless overview of state oppression, while at the same time, uplifting in the hopeful resistance of ordinary people, during extraordinary circumstances. 




(from left to right)

Suggestibility, 2023

Oil on Canvas, 

93 x 93 x 5cm


Contagious Acts, 2023

Oil on Canvas, 

93 x 93 x 5cm


Anonymity, 2023

Oil on Canvas, 

93 x 93 x 5cm



In Every Dream Home a Heartache 2, 2023 

Oil on canvas 

160 x 108cm 


Seventeen Piece Service

Slip cast rubber bullets, hand-applied decal 

10.5 x 5 x 5cm


In Every Dream Home a Heartache 1, 2023

Oil on canvas

108 x 196cm


Dishing It Out, 2023

Ceramic slip cast batons, varied finished 

4 x 4 x 58cm 


Dishing It Out, 2023

Ceramic slip cast batons, varied finishes

(Gold leaf, transfer decals, earthenware, pit-fired)

4 x 4 x 58cm


24 Hands, 2023

Ceramic clip cast, hand applied decals

Edition of 6

22 x 22 x 54cm


Set Piece, 2023

A3 Screenprint on Pristine White Colorplan 350gsm paper

42 x 59.4cm


A Concise History of Industrial Violence, 2023

Audio, 34 mins

Performed by Christopher Eccleston 

Custom mid-century speaker

22 x 22 x 54cm