Sunday, May 26, 2024

Snake with Flowers 2024

For almost two years now, I haven't really been making images.  I've been trying to find homes for my work, and also have been preparing for a retrospective exhibit at MOPA, now part of the San Diego Museum of Art( StoryTeller: Work by Holly Roberts ).  In March, I created a temporary studio in Austin, Texas, while staying there to spend time with our daughter and her young family. While there, I painted, and tried not to make too big a mess since my workspace was in the living room of the small condo we were staying in.  When we returned to New Mexico, using a panel I had painted a few years ago, I married a photograph I had taken of a small garden snake with the painting--which perfectly flowed with the rhythm of the painted surface. The flowers added to the ominous presence of the snake(walking in your garden and you discover much to your surprise a snake!), but at the same time, a beautiful juxtaposition of the two.  As I worked, I remembered just how hard it was to get an image to work, and how completely I was taken over by making the piece.  After working for six hours straight, I was tired, hungry, and what's more, had lost the cut out snake somewhere in the mess of my studio.  I found it the next morning, and, pleased, was finally able to complete the image.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Bucking Pony 2024

I ride a friends horse several times a week, and when I’m done riding I go next door to the neighbors to let out her three horses, who have been confined so that they will not eat each other’s food.  The neighbor works during the day, so I like to give them the very large horse pleasure of being in close proximity. Blixa, a pony, is one of the horses.  He is in his twenties, short and very stout, and was probably once grey but is now white.  When I let him out he races past me and charges over to the other two horses, ears pinned, teeth bared, often bucking and rearing as he charges at them.  For the most part they ignore him except for an occasional ears pinned back toss of the head; the bossy little fat boy that insists on playing with the big kids whether they want him or not.

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.