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.
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)

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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Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)(detail)
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)(detail)
This Body. That Body.
This Body. That Body.
Unspeakable (inscription)
Unspeakable (inscription)
Addiction Stain (fermentation)
Addiction Stain (fermentation)
Addiction Stain (fermentation) (back)
Addiction Stain (fermentation) (back)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc in the weeds)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc in the weeds)
Unspeakable (new, new dance)
Unspeakable (new, new dance)
i've love the stars too fondly
i've love the stars too fondly
Ripple (please don't move)
Ripple (please don't move)
Ripple (please don't move) (back)
Ripple (please don't move) (back)
Slow and Steady
Slow and Steady
Fast and Foolish
Fast and Foolish
Don't Let the Sun
Don't Let the Sun
Don't Let the Sun (detail)
Don't Let the Sun (detail)
Bipolar Stain (without tenderness we are in hell)
Bipolar Stain (without tenderness we are in hell)
Depression Stain (four seasons: fog of spring)
Depression Stain (four seasons: fog of spring)
Depression Stain (four seasons: summer)
Depression Stain (four seasons: summer)
Depression Stain (four seasons: winter)
Depression Stain (four seasons: winter)
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn)
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn)
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn) (back)
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn) (back)
Anxiety Stain (buzz)
Anxiety Stain (buzz)
Dementia Stain (darkness visible)
Dementia Stain (darkness visible)
Bipolar Stain (for hkh)
Bipolar Stain (for hkh)
Bipolar Stain (steady)
Bipolar Stain (steady)
Bipolar Stain (steady) (back)
Bipolar Stain (steady) (back)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause) (back)
ADHD Stain (calm, focus, pause) (back)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad) (back)
Schizophrenia Stain (word salad) (back)
Anxiety Stasin (swarming)
Anxiety Stasin (swarming)
Anxiety Stain (swarming)
Anxiety Stain (swarming)
Addiction Stain (one day)
Addiction Stain (one day)
Addiction Stain (one day) (back)
Addiction Stain (one day) (back)
Unspeakable (clown phase 3)
Unspeakable (clown phase 3)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois) (detail)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois) (detail)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois) (detail 2)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois) (detail 2)
Bipolar Stain (sunspot)
Bipolar Stain (sunspot)
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)
embrodiery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2022
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)(detail)
Schizophrenia Stain (chatter)(detail)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2022
This Body. That Body.
This Body. That Body.
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2022
Unspeakable (inscription)
Unspeakable (inscription)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 72x60
2022
Addiction Stain (fermentation)
Addiction Stain (fermentation)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2022
Addiction Stain (fermentation) (back)
Addiction Stain (fermentation) (back)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2022
Unspeakable (hysterical arc in the weeds)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc in the weeds)
emboridery and acrylic on canvas, 30x40
2022
Unspeakable (new, new dance)
Unspeakable (new, new dance)
embroidery and acrylic in canvas, 90x72
2022
i've love the stars too fondly
i've love 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
Ripple (please don't move) (back)
Ripple (please don't move) (back)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 30x40
2022
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
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
Bipolar Stain (without tenderness we are in hell)
Bipolar Stain (without tenderness we are in hell)
acrylic & embroidery on canvas, 36x36
2021
Depression Stain (four seasons: fog of spring)
Depression Stain (four seasons: fog of spring)
emboidery, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2020
Depression Stain (four seasons: summer)
Depression Stain (four seasons: summer)
emboidery, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2021
Depression Stain (four seasons: winter)
Depression Stain (four seasons: winter)
embroidery, 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: autumn) (back)
Depression Stain (four seasons: autumn) (back)
embroidery, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2021
Anxiety Stain (buzz)
Anxiety Stain (buzz)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2021
Dementia Stain (darkness visible)
Dementia Stain (darkness visible)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2019
Bipolar Stain (for hkh)
Bipolar Stain (for hkh)
embroidery, oil and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2019
Bipolar Stain (steady)
Bipolar Stain (steady)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2019
Bipolar Stain (steady) (back)
Bipolar Stain (steady) (back)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2019
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
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
Anxiety Stasin (swarming)
Anxiety Stasin (swarming)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2021
Anxiety Stain (swarming)
Anxiety Stain (swarming)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2021
Addiction Stain (one day)
Addiction Stain (one day)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2022
Addiction Stain (one day) (back)
Addiction Stain (one day) (back)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2022
Unspeakable (clown phase 3)
Unspeakable (clown phase 3)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 36x36
2021
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois)
emboidery and arylic on canvas, 96x72
2019
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois) (detail)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois) (detail)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 96x72
2019
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois) (detail 2)
Unspeakable (hysterical arc after bourgeois) (detail 2)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 96x72
2019
Bipolar Stain (sunspot)
Bipolar Stain (sunspot)
embroidery and acrylic on canvas, 20x16
2017

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