Jammie Holmes: Somewhereinamerica

Various Small Fires is pleased to introduce a solo show of new works by Dallas-based artist Jammie Holmes. Somewhereinamerica includes paintings, sculptures, and watercolors and is Holmes' first show with Various Small Fires.


Jammie Holmes, a self-taught artist, illuminates themes of community, tradition, class, authenticity, resilience, and the realities of Black American life in his work. He combines personal memories, family portraits, art historical references, figures from American history, and everyday cultural references into poetic, tender, sometimes surreal, and always deeply human artworks.


In this body of work, Holmes reflects on a desire for belonging. He paints interior scenes that illustrate the humble domestic settings he grew up in, as seen in Picture that in 2022, 2022. Holmes renders these tableaux with a sense of deep care and nostalgia, emphasizing the role these places play in forming identity. The artist contrasts these scenes with ones that nod to luxury and opulence. He paints suited men drinking from wine glasses and glistening gold sculptures as symbols of success. He also includes racially charged objects, like mammies and black flowers with Jim Crow-era facial features, that point to the complexities of power. These objects and titles like Still at the wrong table, 2022, suggest how Holmes grapples with acceptance as he navigates success in a setting that is ultimately foreign. 


Holmes creates work from the Black American perspective but likens his mindset to the experience of minority groups across the country. His paintings arise from his specific memories but are suffused with empathy for human beings of all backgrounds. Somewhere in America exists an individual who is reflecting on their place in society, just as Holmes does in these artworks. 



Jammie Holmes (b. 1984 in Thibodaux, Louisiana, lives and works in Dallas, Texas) spent more than a decade working in an oil field following his graduation from high school. He relocated to Dallas in 2016. His work has most recently been presented in exhibitions at Library Street Collective, Detroit; Deitch Projects, Los Angeles; Marianne Boesky, New York; Nassima-Landau Projects, Tel Aviv; Dallas Museum of Art; and Dallas Contemporary, among others. His work is also included in the permanent collections of the Aïshti Foundation, Brooklyn Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Hammer Museum, ICA Miami, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, New Orleans Museum of Art, Perez Museum of Art, X Museum, and The Xiao Museum of Contemporary Art.