When she was a little girl the Dutch artist Roos Holleman always wanted to become a paleontologist. For Holleman, there is an attractive beauty in death. She explains, “Death has a degree of “touchability.” You can often only observe animals and birds with binoculars, but when something is dead, you can get very close, which is an intimate, special moment. Therefore, Holleman is very intrigued by natural history museums where she can observe birds, but also other kinds of objects that speak the same visual language.
Her drawings using graphite and pastel chalk show subjects with a tactile exterior; birds of paradise, hummingbirds, and moths. With her work, she brings different kinds of subjects to life with so much detail that it evokes a feeling of affection and a sensation to stroke the object. Holleman also sees her drawings as an exercise to get closer to the things that fascinate her.
Her work is currently exhibited in various private museums and bigger museum collections, among them CODA museum. Due to current circumstances, the museum started offering an online experience giving you the opportunity to view the work of artists digitally.
“I make drawings of tranquil and mostly dead animals. With pastels, graphite and other drawing materials on mostly large sizes of paper. I am most interested in the natural history drawing tradition. The way it represents living nature, how it allows us to study it and makes us wonder.
The dead animal is for me study object, specimen and icon. In order to draw the living nature, it must initially be observed dead, although it is sometimes hard to see. By drawing, I strive for a clear, as comprehensive as possible representation. I try to draw still lifes without swagger, biology plates without information, icons without history.”