Danielle Georgiou & Hillary Holsonback: I'm Looking Through You (essay by John Pomara)
The gallery is pleased to present "I'm Looking Through You” – the New York debut of Dallas-based artists Danielle Georgiou and Hillary Holsonback.
I’m looking through you, where did you go
I thought I knew you, what did I know
You don’t look different, but you have changed
I’m looking through you; you’re not the same.
-The Beatles, from the song “I’m Looking Through You,” 1965
Danielle Georgiou and Hillary Holsonback have both developed bodies of work organized around the premise of transforming images of the self. Though they’ve collaborated together in the past, for this exhibition, each artist has produced a unique and individualized portrait—a visual marker on their search for identity. Holsonback’s large-scale photographs and Georgiou’s videos both uniquely echo the words sung by the Beatles. Looking through the self, incorporating pop culture references and mechanically mediated techniques, both artists explore contemporary feminine gender dynamics and the intensely personal nature of identity.
Growing up under the artistic influence of artists such as Cindy Sherman—and more recently having discovered Sanya Ivekovic and Marlo Pascual—Holsonback has staked out new terrain in the transformative use of self. Holsonback projects still images appropriated from 1950’s and 60’s advertising featuring female models onto a blank wall. Then Holsonback proceeds to move, merge, and swim through these projected images in a gestural fashion capturing her movement with still photography. In the resulting photographs, she appears to invade the image, and always stopping just short of merging with the model, she creates a disorienting hallucinatory tension evocative of the 60’s cult film, The Trip. This aspect, which Roland Barthes described in Camera Lucida as the “punctum,” captivates the viewer and simultaneously projects and reflects a search for an authentic and contemporary feminine identity. By combining the influence of obscure European film actresses, commercial technique, fashion photography, and manipulated film stills – Holsonback captures and enlarges a private space of contemplation; inviting the viewer to consider their own place in the frame.
The video work of Danielle Georgiou is also influenced by aspects of Cindy Sherman’s photography—particularly her notion of the transformative female. With a nod to her predecessors, Georgiou proceeds to create the performative equivalent of Samuel Beckett on a dinner date with Sarah Silverman. The weight of catastrophic dread is blended in equal measure with female-power of pop culture, resulting in a darkly comedic video. Georgiou even throws in a dash of female spectacle—less like Guy Debord, and more like the kitschy, self-reflective music videos of Katy Perry.
Georgiou’s video, Love Crimes, riffs on pop music while also incorporating elements of old Saturday Night Live comedic skits by Mike Meyers and Andy Kaufman. Georgiou creates her own terrible version of a love song that reflects on her past dating experiences, and tenaciously balances comedy and despair. In this work she quotes lines such as:
If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.
The DJ’s got us falling in love again.
You’re the shit and I’m knee deep in it.
After speaking each quote, a white powdered substance like cocaine is dumped on top of her head. The quotes are spoken in sarcastic disgust toward her suitors. This ritual is repeated ten times, each time, quoting different lines taken from pop songs. It’s as if the viewer is witnessing the artist’s own self-discovery of dysfunction, acted out in an ironic form of stand-up comedy. One tries to refrain from dying laughing. — John Pomara