The work:Lisa Hölzl, Henrietta Totem, 2023. Ceramic, 153 x 38cm. $3,500.
From a studio in an old Marrickville bakery, Sydney-based artist Lisa Hölzl strives to achieve “an aesthetic of joy” in her sculptural works. With her piece Henrietta Totem, we see her original practice in painting informing a creative approach to ceramics, with the utilisation of bright glazes and a whimsical aesthetic. Inspired by the paintings of Henri Matisse, Hölzl draws on recognisable motifs in the Modernist’s work to create a spectacular montage stacked precariously one on top of another. Each element is bursting with patterns and bright blues, yellows and greens, embracing the legacy of an artist obsessed with innovating the use of colour and line. A nude reclines at the totem’s base, broken up across a cube in a way that encourages the viewer to walk around the piece to complete the seductive image. Meanwhile, green fronds project out in different directions above it, bestowing what were once minimalist cut-outs with a third dimension. Atop the structure sits a vase bursting with flowers, as if the blooms were reaching for the light. By utilising her thoroughly contemporary practice to channel iconic imagery from the past, Hölzl uses a shared visual language to inject humour and charm into the piece, creating something entirely her own.