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.
Skip To My Lou
Skip To My Lou

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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Skip To My Lou
Skip To My Lou
Atom, Atom Scattering
Atom, Atom Scattering
Sunset Tingle
Sunset Tingle
Bipolar Stain 2
Bipolar Stain 2
Schizophrenia Stain
Schizophrenia Stain
Unspeakable (Frida Column)
Unspeakable (Frida Column)
Unspeakable (Crying Woman 2)
Unspeakable (Crying Woman 2)
Unspeakable (Sabine)
Unspeakable (Sabine)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 12)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 12)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 14)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 14)
Unspeakable (Van Gogh)
Unspeakable (Van Gogh)
Skip To My Lou
Skip To My Lou
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 10x10
2017
Atom, Atom Scattering
Atom, Atom Scattering
acrylic and embroidery in canvas, 10x10
2017
Sunset Tingle
Sunset Tingle
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 10x10
2017
Bipolar Stain 2
Bipolar Stain 2
acrylic and embroidery on fabric, 6x6
2017
Schizophrenia Stain
Schizophrenia Stain
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 6x6
2017
Unspeakable (Frida Column)
Unspeakable (Frida Column)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2016
Unspeakable (Crying Woman 2)
Unspeakable (Crying Woman 2)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2016
Unspeakable (Sabine)
Unspeakable (Sabine)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 48x36
2016
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 12)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 12)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 48x36
2016
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 14)
Unspeakable (Guernica Sketch 14)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2016
Unspeakable (Van Gogh)
Unspeakable (Van Gogh)
acrylic and embroidery on canvas, 20x16
2016