Press release from the Grand Bohemian Hotel:
Grand Bohemian Gallery Asheville debuts a new collection of works by Asheville artist Mark Holland. A Meet-the-Artist reception takes place Friday, May 24, 5:30–8 p.m.
Holland’s vibrantly complex new botanical collection comes just in time for the beginning of summer. A riot of colors, tightly-painted still-lifes and nature scenes – each with seemingly-hidden elements that come to life only after long study – the collection showcases small works from 12 x 12 inches to substantially-sized compositions.
Holland’s process is a montage of pictorial elements — snippets of photographs as well as fragments of printed material, lettering, vintage images — that Holland combines into a single composition. He rework the images by drawing into them, adding and subtracting parts, deconstructing then reconstructing the visuals to achieve a final drawing. Finally, he paints into his montage on wood panel. The color is applied in thin transparent glazes and washes of color; maintaining the drawing underneath. My finish is a layered combination of oil medium and varnish which gives the painting a luminous quality.
Mark Holland was born in Asmara, Eritrea, East Africa, but grew up on the prairies of Illinois and the farm lands of Indiana.
“As a child, Nature is where I went when I felt bad. It was a place I yearned for, a place that gave me peace. It was a place where I could learn. I wanted to understand what I was seeing. I did that by drawing what I saw,” says Holland. “My drawings then and now give me a reference for what I see and a reference point for my position in Nature.”
Holland chooses not only nature (animals and botanicals,) but also cityscapes and pop surrealism as subject matter and genres for his layered paintings. The Asheville-based artist once maintained a River Arts District Studio, but now prefers painting in nature and his home studio to create his works. Holland begins with a underdrawing in graphite and charcoal and introduces color in an almost collage-like layering of the oils and varnish.
Prior to living in Asheville, Holland lived in Santa Fe. His works appear in diverse public collections: New Mexican Newspaper, Santa Fe, NM; Bob Jones University Art Gallery Permanent Collection; Greenville, SC; Casa Bendiga Cultural Center; Taxco, Mexico; Tupelo Honey Restaurant; Asheville, NC; Newman Center, University of Arizona, Tuscan, AZ; Church of John the Baptist; Pueblo of San Juan, San Juan, NM; and Basilica Cathedral of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM.
“To me Art is not mere decoration. It is a testimony and documentation of what we all see in our lives,” he states. “All this is contrary to the prevailing culture of mass consumerism, kitsch, isolation, technology and abstraction.”
“I make my work not only for myself but for all, so that together we can celebrate Nature and our existence in it.”