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.
Don't Let the Sun
Don't Let the Sun

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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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)
Fast and Foolish
Fast and Foolish
Slow and Steady
Slow and Steady
Depression Stain (glimmer)
Depression Stain (glimmer)
Dementia Stain (grocery list for lgh)
Dementia Stain (grocery list for lgh)
Unspeakable (demence precoce)
Unspeakable (demence precoce)
OCD Stain
OCD Stain
Unspeakable (hopeless)
Unspeakable (hopeless)
Unspeakable (hopeless) detail
Unspeakable (hopeless) detail
Unspeakable (clown phase 1)
Unspeakable (clown phase 1)
Unspeakable (in the flesh)
Unspeakable (in the flesh)
Unspeakable (drowning woman)
Unspeakable (drowning woman)
Unspeakable (deKooning)
Unspeakable (deKooning)
Unspeakable (catalepsie)
Unspeakable (catalepsie)
Unspeakable (catalepsie) detail
Unspeakable (catalepsie) detail
Unspeakable (Crying Woman 2)
Unspeakable (Crying Woman 2)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 12)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 12)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 9)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 9)
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
Fast and Foolish
Fast and Foolish
acrylic and emboidery on canvas, 20x20
2020
Slow and Steady
Slow and Steady
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x20
2020
Depression Stain (glimmer)
Depression Stain (glimmer)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 36x36
2019
Dementia Stain (grocery list for lgh)
Dementia Stain (grocery list for lgh)
acrylic, oil and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2019
Unspeakable (demence precoce)
Unspeakable (demence precoce)
acrylic an embroidery on canvas, 60x36
2019
OCD Stain
OCD Stain
acrylic amnd emboridery on canvas, 10x10
2018
Unspeakable (hopeless)
Unspeakable (hopeless)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2018
Unspeakable (hopeless) detail
Unspeakable (hopeless) detail
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2018
Unspeakable (clown phase 1)
Unspeakable (clown phase 1)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2018
Unspeakable (in the flesh)
Unspeakable (in the flesh)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 16x14
2019
Unspeakable (drowning woman)
Unspeakable (drowning woman)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2018
Unspeakable (deKooning)
Unspeakable (deKooning)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2018
Unspeakable (catalepsie)
Unspeakable (catalepsie)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 48x36
2018
Unspeakable (catalepsie) detail
Unspeakable (catalepsie) detail
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 48x36
2018
Unspeakable (Crying Woman 2)
Unspeakable (Crying Woman 2)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2016
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 12)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 12)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 48x36
2016
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 9)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 9)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 48x36
2016

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