Holly Roberts, who will be teaching an eight-week Penland workshop beginning in March, is a painter and a photographer. Her work with paint tends toward color and layers, while her photographs often highlight everyday patterns and textures in black and white—the branches of trees against the sky, the coiled springs of a mattress, the pebbly surface of a paved driveway. But her real work is in combining the two into narrative collages.
Holly’s collages speak to specific memories, thoughts, or individuals, and she can elaborate on the stories behind each. There’s the yellow collage of a cowboy, for example, loosely inspired by her husband’s grandfather in his ranch hand days out in Texas and New Mexico, or the aqua and dull red image of three faces inside separate houses that deals with the growing rifts between siblings as they age.
On the surface, some elements of these stories are obvious—the cowboy boots, the human features, the three peaked roofs. But deeper inspection draws out more depth from the constructed layers. The cowboy’s belt buckle is pasted from a photograph of a bird’s nest, and the squiggling “bones” that run the length of his body are the branches of trees. In the collage of houses, there are recognizable shapes, but others draw questions—are those hands reaching up from the bottom, or roots? Is the sky filled with clouds, or are those thought bubbles brimming with the unsaid words between siblings?
There’s a directness to these pieces that belies their depth and consideration. What first appears playful or happenstance is the result of careful arranging, rearranging, testing, and experimenting. Holly understands her materials as language and has gained the fluency to communicate through them on an immediate, elemental level.
The short video below is an illuminating view into her creative process in the studio:
This spring, we are thrilled to welcome Holly back to Penland to share her approach to narrative collage with our community. She and her students will go in-depth with the possibilities of paint mixed with other media during her concentration The Perfect Union: Paint, Collage & Transfers. The workshop will run March 11 – May 4, 2018, and registration is open now. Students can expect eight weeks of investigation, exploration, questions, and camaraderie.
The Perfect Union: Paint, Collage & Transfers
Holly Robert—Students will begin the process of combining media by experimenting with different ways of applying paint. Painted surfaces will serve as the core of the images to follow and will guide students in forming these images. Students will experiment with transfer processes, gluing and adhesive techniques, and using their own source material to build images onto their painted surfaces. The workshop will stress investigation, exploration, and risk in an attempt to marry disparate media such as print, text, photographs, and any other material students want to use. All levels. Studio fee: $170. Code S00D
Studio artist; teaches nationally and internationally; two NEA fellowships; monographs of her work published by Nazraeli Press and Friends of Photography; collections: Art Institute of Chicago, Center for Creative Photography (AZ), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
REGISTER FOR SPRING CONCENTRATIONS
clay | letterpress | painting | metals | textiles | wood | sculpture
March 11 – May 4, 2018