[ISEA2022] Artist Talk: Jess Holz — Umbra

Artist Statement 

June 14, MACBA – Convent dels Àngels. Session: Scale and the Politics of Other Living Systems

Keywords: microscopy, flesh, objectivity, insects, visual culture, imaging technologies, biology, scale

Jess Holz creates ‘microsculptures’ incorporating insect and plant material, imaged by scanning electron microscopy. By collaging materials into small sculptures she creates imagined interactions between entities present. In her work she experiments with bizarre distortions due to charge buildup (an imaging artifact) as a way to challenge the assumed objectivity of scientific images.

  • Jess Holz (b. 1985) creates artworks which give the viewer a peek into invisible worlds, as well as a chance to reflect on the influence of scientific visual culture on our collective imagination. She has recently received an MFA in Art+Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA; previously she has worked in several labs and imaging facilities, gaining valuable technical experience with a number of microscopic imaging techniques. She currently works as a microscopy research associate at a Boston University lab which investigates the neural circuitry underlying thought and emotion. A true artist/scientist at heart, she has been using the scanning electron microscope for artistic purposes for the past 16 years. The discrepancy between what can be perceived by eye and what is imaged by the microscope has fostered her fascination with perceptual systems along with the optical properties of materials. Jess actively exploits this in photography and installation.