Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Working March2024


My husband and I have been spending the month of March(last year January)in Austin, TX to spend time with our young grandson, now 3 1/2. This year I decided to set up a small studio space so that I could work while we are here. Among other things, I purchased an inexpensive black and white laser printer,  a floor lamp and a new 5 foot folding table. I brought most of my supplies from home, and after several trips to Goodwill and retrieving items from the curb, I managed to set up my space. It’s quite tight, and the main thing I find that I lack is space to spread out so that I can see what I’m doing.  I haven’t worked since fall of 2022, so basically I’m starting all over again.  How does one go about making art anyway?  Coming back to me are just how very hard it is, how much a slave I am to the process once I get going, and the doubts, fears, elation, and confusion that I go through each time I start working.  It’s much like getting back on a bucking bronco and riding until the ride is done.  What’s nice is that after more than a year of not working, I have forgotten how to do many things, which keeps it more interesting. I’m also lacking in the millions of items my studio at home provides, and I think that’s a good thing as well.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Saying Goodbye 1987

In 1987 I painted "Saying Goodbye" after a tough loss. This last week, I pulled the image out of my flat file storage, and packed it up, along with 23 other paintings that have been donated to Wright State University in Ohio(Wright State has a wonderful and unique lending program where students can check art work out for the semester from the Museum's collection).  Once again, it was difficult putting together such a large body of work and sending it off, but this particular piece was especially hard to let go of.  I think partially because I am at a time in my life where I'm saying lots of goodbyes: to my art, to parents who have passed on, to friends who have died too young, to a small dog who has been my special friend for 14 years.


Sunday, January 28, 2024

Hummingbird(with Figure Standing) 2016

 On March 30 of this year, the Museum of Photographic Art at the San Diego Museum of Art, will present my work in a 40 year retrospective.  The exhibit, titled "Storyteller:  Works by Holly Roberts" will run until Aug. 18, and will include 59 pieces of mine created from 1980 until 2023. There will be a beautiful book to go along with the retrospective with an essay by Deborah Klochko, former director of MOPA.  At the end of the exhibit all 59 pieces will go into the permanent collection of the Museum. 

For the past several weeks, I've been preparing the work to be delivered to the museum, soft wrapping them to be picked up by art handlers and driven out. It's very bittersweet. While I'm pleased that my work will have a permanent home at the Museum, I'm sad to see the work go.  Although I sell work knowing I won't see the work again, this is 59 pieces going in one giant exit from my life.  It feels as if I'm losing  my limbs all at once--fingers, toes, arms, legs and a big chunk of my heart.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Man with a Squirel 2023


I have a problematic relationships with squirrels.  We have just a few in our neighborhood, but when I go to a place where they are plentiful, they make me nervous with their herky-jerky movments, and their lightening like ability to go up and over just about anything that is vertical. A student once brought me a dead squirrel wrapped in leaves (the same student had also brought me a dead snake a few days before which I scanned and then had to get rid of because of the smell), which is where the squirrel in this image comes from. The story is ominous to me, with the bare trees and the vulture like birds watching the man scurry off in a guilty way with the lifeless squirrel in hand.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Red Couple 2008

Although I don't usually feel that my images are political, I came across "Red Couple" recently.  Done in 2008, the skirt of the woman and the torso of the man are from a photograph of  Lee Harvey Oswald  holding a rifle The woman's torso is made from a design of different kinds of skeletons of humans and animals(just in case you missed the death reference with the rifle images).  Looking back, 2008 almost seems to have been a time of innocence.  It was pre Trump, pre COVID, pre the war between the Ukraine and Russia, climate change wasn't as dire, and now, most horrifically, the conflict between Israel and Hamas(although I'm sure there was violence in 2008 as well).  I almost never use red in my work, or red like this, a red that dominates the painting, but in this case, it's a clear reference to blood.  This morning, someone posted on my Facebook feed the image of five dead children from the Israel/Hamas conflict whose bodies had been laid out on a table.  It was too awful for words. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Watch Dogs 2007

In December of last year I wrote about my friend Shirley's passing in Shirley's Ride.  Recently, her husband, Bob, held a gathering of friends and family to remember her by. It was one of those very good memorials: people standing up around a table after having eaten a lovely lunch with their memories of Shirley, all of us describing different pieces to the puzzle that was this complicated, intelligent, and wonderful woman. Shirley had collected a number of my pieces over the years, pieces that she saw in my studio and bought so that they were never exhibited but seen only on her walls. At her memorial service I sat across from her favorite niece, Taylor Curry, who Shirley had left the bulk of my work to.  And since my work is not everyone's cup of tea, I was delighted to find that Taylor was not only thrilled to have the work, but that I was as thrilled to have her be their new caretaker. Among other things, I learned that Taylor had just come back from hiking the Pacific Coast Trail--solo--five months start to finish.  Shirley had found the right home for these four wonderful paintings. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Woman at the Beach 2017

Although I did this piece in 2017, I thought it was more appropriate for the current year, 2023, most probably the hottest year ever recorded. In this painting, there is no place for her to hide from the  oppressive heat and the ever present sun.  The woman is tattooed with marks from the sun, and her sunglasses and swim suit are all that protect her. Although waves crash in the background, they are distant and only serve to underscore just how hot it is for our lady, standing alone on the hot, dry, sand in her strangely inappropriate red shoes.