Leslie Holt

b. 1969, Bethesda, MD
My recent work explores the often private states of extreme emotion caused by war, loss and/or mental illness. I use embroidery thread to draw and create chunks of color in combination with acrylic stains of saturated hues. The act of stitching is intimate and tender, in contrast to the stains that emphasize the unruly quality of these vulnerable states.
Bipolar Stain (steady)
Bipolar Stain (steady)

Leslie Holt is well known for paintings that encourage discourse with topics of psychology and mental illness, commercialism and socio-economic divides. She employs unconventional juxtapositions, alluring use of color and contrast, and elements of irony to provoke commentary and emotional response. Most recently, she explores depictions of grief and triumph in embroidered paintings inspired by Picasso’s Guernica. Her compositions on raw canvas contain elemental clouds of acrylic pigment that, like water or blood, pool and drip around embroidered female bodies borrowed from her source painting. The haunting stains represent these women’s tumultuous interior worlds, while her stunning Technicolor palette and graphic lines partially disguise an even darker reality of pain and vulnerability. Transcending boundaries of time or place, each figure represents a shared reality and breadth of symbolism both for Holt and for her audience.

Leslie Holt is from Bethesda, Maryland and in 2012 returned to the DC metro area after living in St. Louis for 20 years. She received a BFA in Painting at Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA in Painting at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. Leslie has taught studio art, art history and art appreciation on the college level since 2001. She has also worked as a social worker and advocate for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and people receiving welfare benefits. Currently she is Co-director of Red Dirt Studio, a warehouse studio for a group of independently practicing artists and creative professionals. Her years-long project, Hello Masterpiece, has been collected by hundreds of Hello Kitty loving art collectors world-wide.

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Bipolar Stain (steady)
Bipolar Stain (steady)
Bipolar Stain (steady) (back)
Bipolar Stain (steady) (back)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad) (back)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad) (back)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause) (back)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause) (back)
Addiction Stain (fermentation)
Addiction Stain (fermentation)
Depression Stain (four seasons: winter)
Depression Stain (four seasons: winter)
Depression Stain (four seasons: summer)
Depression Stain (four seasons: summer)
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn)
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn)
Depression Stain (four seasons: fog of spring)
Depression Stain (four seasons: fog of spring)
Bipolar Stain (without tenderness we are in hell)
Bipolar Stain (without tenderness we are in hell)
Dementia Stain (darkness visible)
Dementia Stain (darkness visible)
Bipolar Stain (sunspot)
Bipolar Stain (sunspot)
Anxiety Stain (buzz)
Anxiety Stain (buzz)
Bipolar Stain (for hkh)
Bipolar Stain (for hkh)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc in the weeds)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc in the weeds)
Unspeakable (clown phase 3)
Unspeakable (clown phase 3)
This Body. That Body.
This Body. That Body.
I've loved the stars too fondly
I've loved the stars too fondly
Ripple (please don't move)
Ripple (please don't move)
Don't Let the Sun
Don't Let the Sun
Don't Let the Sun (detail)
Don't Let the Sun (detail)
Slow and Steady
Slow and Steady
Fast and Foolish
Fast and Foolish
Bipolar Stain (steady)
Bipolar Stain (steady)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2019
Bipolar Stain (steady) (back)
Bipolar Stain (steady) (back)
emboidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2019
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2021
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad) (back)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad) (back)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2021
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2020
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause) (back)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause) (back)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2020
Addiction Stain (fermentation)
Addiction Stain (fermentation)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2022
Depression Stain (four seasons: winter)
Depression Stain (four seasons: winter)
embroidery, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2021
Depression Stain (four seasons: summer)
Depression Stain (four seasons: summer)
emboidery, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2021
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn)
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn)
emboridery, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2021
Depression Stain (four seasons: fog of spring)
Depression Stain (four seasons: fog of spring)
emboidery, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2020
Bipolar Stain (without tenderness we are in hell)
Bipolar Stain (without tenderness we are in hell)
acrylic & embroidery on canvas, 36x36
2021
Dementia Stain (darkness visible)
Dementia Stain (darkness visible)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2019
Bipolar Stain (sunspot)
Bipolar Stain (sunspot)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2017
Anxiety Stain (buzz)
Anxiety Stain (buzz)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2021
Bipolar Stain (for hkh)
Bipolar Stain (for hkh)
embroidery, oil and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2019
Unspeakable (hysterical arc in the weeds)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc in the weeds)
emboridery and acrylic on canvas, 30x40
2022
Unspeakable (clown phase 3)
Unspeakable (clown phase 3)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2021
This Body. That Body.
This Body. That Body.
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2022
I've loved the stars too fondly
I've loved the stars too fondly
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2022
Ripple (please don't move)
Ripple (please don't move)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 30x40
2022
Don't Let the Sun
Don't Let the Sun
acrylic & embroidery on canvas, 36x48
2021
Don't Let the Sun (detail)
Don't Let the Sun (detail)
acrylic & embroidery, 36x48
2021
Slow and Steady
Slow and Steady
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x20
2020
Fast and Foolish
Fast and Foolish
acrylic and emboidery on canvas, 20x20
2020

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