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THE ARTISTRY OF CURLEE RAVEN HOLTON

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE | ARTS PROGRAM


THE ARTISTRY OF CURLEE RAVEN HOLTON ARTS PROGRAM UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE


I know I speak on behalf of everyone

That is part of what makes our Arts Program such a rich addition

at University of Maryland University

to the fabric of UMUC—a university that has focused on teaching

College (UMUC) when I say how

and learning for 70 years, striving always to inspire students to

pleased we are to host Journey:

expand and build on what they know and encouraging them to

The Artistry of Curlee Raven Holton.

think in creative and constructive ways. Art can be a powerful tool

Katherine Lambert

for both introspection and transformation and, as such, plays a Holton is a master printmaker,

vital role in the educational experience.

painter, and teacher. Through his work, he offers thought-provoking

Thank you for your interest in and support of the arts and for

perspectives on what it means to

your belief in the importance of seeing the world in new and

be human in America today, delving into issues of race, spirituality,

challenging ways.

and social justice. Javier Miyares Through our Arts Program, UMUC is proud to introduce estab-

President

lished artists like Holton—as well as new and emerging talents—

University of Maryland University College

to members of our community and to broader audiences.

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Steven Halperson

The Arts Program at UMUC

As a painter, he has exhibited his works in museums and galleries

continues to thrive, producing

nationally and internationally, including the Cleveland Museum

exciting visual arts exhibitions.

of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of the

Early this year, the Arts Program

Fine Arts, Library of Congress, and Whitney Museum of American

introduced James Phillips: Swirling

Art, and venues in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Japan. Holton earned

Complexity Into Culture, a retro-

his MFA with honors from Kent State University and his BFA from

spective that showcased 46 works

the Cleveland Institute of Art. He recently retired as the founding

that spanned the Maryland artist’s

director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute on the campus

more than 50 years in art. In every

of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and is currently the

exhibition, the Arts Program strives

executive director of the David C. Driskell Center at University of

to bring to its audience quality art that educates the viewer about

Maryland, College Park.

the many experiences of the artist and his or her language through art. This exhibition, Journey: The Artistry of Curlee Raven Holton,

For more than 30 years, Holton has advocated for the medium of

does just that.

printmaking and has emerged as a leader in field—producing prints and paintings that trace the story of his own journey through life

Curlee Raven Holton is a master printmaker and painter whose

and ultimately documenting modern-day issues such as race, iden-

works invite viewers to examine their humanity. Upon studying

tity, and culture. Each work in this exhibition provides a glimpse

Holton’s works, one can surmise that he has something to say

into the American scene.

about being human in today’s America. Working in both print and paint art media, Holton presents issues of race, spirituality,

Sharing information about art and artists has positioned the UMUC

and social justice, using color, symbolism, and figurative represen-

Arts Program as a leading arts organization in Maryland. The Arts

tations to deal with the complexity of his content.

Program is proud to introduce Journey: The Artistry of Curlee Raven Holton to its faculty, staff, students, and the general public.

This exhibition explores the complexities of Holton’s creative journey in art. As a printmaker, he has produced masterful prints

Eric Key

for some of the nation’s leading artists, such as David C. Driskell,

Director, Arts Program

Robert Blackburn, Richard Mayhew, Alison Saar, and Willie Cole.

University of Maryland University College

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In his art practice, Holton engages in what could be considered a metaphorical journey, similar to the journey of the archetypal hero in ancient myths. In this light, the artist has to have the

FLOYD COLEMAN, PhD Professor Emeritus, Department of Art, Howard University

courage to begin a work, to confront the empty canvas or intaglio plate. During the preliminary analysis of the inherent qualities of the subject, the creative possibilities of the materials to be used, and the beginning efforts in the art-making process, there are inevitably aborted starts and interruptions—and at times, frustration and confusion—but the artist works through such

WORKING IN A VARIETY OF MEDIA, Curlee Raven Holton has

difficulties. At this point in the journey, the artist gains knowledge,

investigated aspects of the complexity of his feelings, thoughts,

wisdom, awareness, and recognition of a path to resolution and to

experiences, memories, and responses to historical and current

additional possibilities. When the work is realized, the artist pauses

events as they have been informed and shaped by culture and

to reflect and take measure of what has been accomplished and

traditions of thought. This exhibition features early and recent

then begins to think about the next work. Thus the artist begins

work that Holton says reflect his “love of the figure, [its] express-

the journey again, a ritual that influences the aesthetic quality and

ive, abstract qualities . . . that merge my social and political

character of what the artist creates. This is a generic sketch of the

interests with my aesthetic interests as an academically trained

journey that Holton has taken innumerable times over the past

painter.”1 Each of the paintings, prints, drawings, watercolors,

several decades.

and mixed-media works presented in the exhibition is a marker along Holton’s artistic journey. Holton’s life and art is grounded in broad humanistic, spiritual, nonhierarchical subjectivities, ideologies, and cultural values. His artist’s statement (p. 19) reflects the influence of mythologist

Holton has resolutely affirmed that the journey is important. “A journey is not always from A to B to C, but sometimes leaving A and returning to A.”4 This suggests that he does not restrict his art practice and art language to one aesthetic paradigm but is

Joseph Campbell. Holton examined Campbell’s concept of the “monomyth,” as presented in the TV series and subsequent book The Power of Myth (1988), which featured Bill Moyers’s interviews of Campbell. However, Holton’s study of philosophy while a graduate student in the Master of Fine Arts program at Kent State University, where he was introduced to the writings of Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Jacques Derrida, helped him see how Campbell’s work was foundational. Holton recognized that his continued exploration in existentialism, structuralism, and poststructuralist philosophy, literature, and literary theory could inspire, expand, and enrich his creative work.2 Decades later, Holton’s deep interest in literature and the literary imagination has not waned. He recently said, “I often read a book of poetry before I begin to paint.”3 The literary imagination common to poetry, novels, and philosophical texts has inspired and influenced the content and stylistic explorations in his work. The task of connecting ideas, images, and the unfolding structural possibilities of written texts to create a painting or a print is a challenge for Holton, but one that he relishes.

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Käthe Kollwitz, Woman with Dead Child, 1903, etching Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. via WikiMedia Commons


open to alternatives and to constant experimentation, exploring different possibilities. We see this writ large in the wide-ranging subjects and artistic explorations in the works presented in this exhibition. It is very much aligned with the blues lyric that Holton frequently recites: “There's more than one way home.” Early in his artistic journey, Holton became aware of the work of Käthe Kollwitz, a German expressionist. Kollwitz’s powerful images tell the story of the poor, the marginalized, and the overlooked working people in her native Germany. The impact of Kollwitz’s work

Go’n to the Field, 1997, ink on paper, 22 x 30 inches

on Holton was considerable, and has remained so, as evident in his recent discussion of the haunting, compelling images of Kollwitz’s works in various media entitled Woman with Dead Child. Holton also became fascinated with the collages of Romare Bearden. In Bearden’s work, Holton immediately saw how African-inspired modernist prerogatives could be used to tell the African American story without compromising its strong social and political content. In addition, Elizabeth Catlett’s masterful prints and sculptures truly confirmed for Holton the possibility of creating works that seamlessly connect the aesthetic with the political in many different ways, rather than through the model of socialist realism alone.5 The art of Kollwitz, Bearden, and Catlett offered paths for Holton to develop his artistic language, which reconciled his social and political concerns with his artistic and aesthetic intentionality. Continued study and exposure to the plethora of modernist movements and postmodernist aesthetic shifts with multitudes of motifs, iconographical and structural explorations, and technical applications helped Holton see that the artist need not be limited to verisimilitude or to a few motifs and structural possibilities and that there are no limits to artistic expression.

AESTHETIC EXPLORATIONS Through in-depth study, artistic practice, and his work as a master printmaker, Holton has gained an uncommon understanding of the innumerable creative possibilities and artistic models offered in modernist and postmodernist subjectivities—and how to use them. In his work, Holton has elected to employ a variety of artistic strategies and tropes to tell his story and to reveal who he is as an artist. The impact of Holton’s travels in Latin America, Europe, West Africa, and Asia; his cosmopolitan lifestyle; and his broad intellectual interests can be seen in his work, but the greatest influence is that of Southern black culture, as seen in works such as Go’n to the Field (1997). While this work can be explicitly connected to the South through language and lore, there is a connecting tissue that runs through Holton’s works that can be seen in structural, compositional, and subject explorations that persist and relate to his philosophy of life. Holton, born in Mississippi, left the South as a baby but often returned to visit relatives during summers. The down-home blues music his father loved and the folk wisdom of his grandmother’s

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stories and sayings influenced his thinking about the South and

heavily influenced by literary imagination, mythic structure, South-

indeed his ideas about life in general, which consequently influ-

ern black culture, and a distinct sense of his artistic identity rather

enced his artistic practice and production.

than the psychological studies of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

In Holton’s works, typological mythic structures are binary man-

Works such as Apparition (2000) and Silence (2012) are important

ifestations problematized by superimposed planes, implicit grid

moments that establish points of Afro-surrealist qualities with

structures, and the juxtaposition of unusual biomorphic and geo-

variations that Holton explores in many of his works. As can be

metric shapes and parts and sections of the human body. Layers

seen in Apparition, the figures are placed in different orientations;

of color combinations (often in low key), patterns of various types,

a balloon flies untethered into the dark sky; and unusual spatial

and presentations of representational imagery with abstract con-

relationships, juxtapositions, and constructs achieve surreal

figurations constitute a significant part of the lexicon of expressive

qualities. Silence is a bit divergent. Perhaps it references aspects

applications and creative strategies that Holton uses to communi-

of a moment when the hero has left the ordinary world and is in

cate with the viewer.

a different world of ambiguity and challenges of various sorts. Masks appear in the pictorial space, adding to the iconological

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Along with the constellation of aforementioned artistic applications

and iconographical complexity of the work. A silhouette of a

and strategies, a concern for telling stories and a desire to connect

musician is on the far right side and is only partly within the picture

to Southern cultural references come together in Holton’s work in

space. The image is given visual weight by strong value contrasts

what can be called Afro-surrealist subjectivity. At its base is an

and relative size relationships within the visual field. In both works,

incipient surrealism that is informed and influenced by the collec-

Holton places the human images and other configurations within

tivist impulse of black communal cultural values and broad intellec-

square-shaped pictorial space, a problematizing strategy to achieve

tual interests. However, Holton’s subjectivity is not the hardcore

the desired visual energy—formal challenges that the artist chose

surrealism of Salvador Dali or André Breton; instead, Holton is

to reconcile.

Apparition, 2000, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

Silence, 2012, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches


Holton’s Othello series is a virtual compendium of persistent mythic-inspired binary structures and variations thereof, along with iconological and iconographical issues, evident in The Seduction (2013), Dreams of Two Different Worlds (2013), Othello’s Reflections Before Venice (2013), and others. Here the artist’s compositional strategies involve superimposition of circles of varying size, an interlocking grid system, geometric planes, and biomorphic forms that create dynamic spaces for representational images of the human figure. The most frequent tropes that Holton uses throughout his oeuvre are masks and musicians. They are associated with the hero’s journey and are a component of Holton’s Afro-surrealist conceit. The mask is referenced in early works such as Man, Mask, Meaning (1991) and Shango and the American Dream (1992). In recent works, such as Color-Struck Family (2017), masks or masklike forms are prominent within the pictorial space, underscoring their importance to Holton’s visual narratives. Music and musicians are important to virtually any effort to understand the black experience in America. From W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903), to LeRoi Jones’s Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963), to Meta DuEwa Jones’s The Muse Is Music: Jazz Poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to Spoken Word (2011), scholars and writers have used music to explore aspects of the black experience. Images of musicians are frequently depicted in African American art, from works of Harlem Renaissance artists such as Aaron Douglas and Archibald Motley in the 1920s and 1930s, to the urban murals of the 1960s and 1970s. Holton is part of this tradition.

Above, right: Color-Struck Family 2017, oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches Right: Dreams of Two Different Worlds Othello series, 2013, sepia-colored etching, 22 x 15 inches

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Musicians and the music that they create are important to Holton’s story— and broadly to the African American story as well. Images of musicians, both individuals and in groups, appear and reappear in a variety of settings and circumstances, as in Juke Joint (1997). Such entertainment places (do-dropins) have been ubiquitous in black communities throughout the South and also in Up South inner-city communities. While stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, during his time in the Army, Holton frequently visited the juke joints in that area and in other parts of the South. He has also attended numerous live performances and visited with musicians and performers backstage, making them important constituents in his narratives. Afro-surrealist conceits guide Holton’s exploration in Blues for the Serpents’ Love (1997). Other variations with images of a single musician or of groups of musicians appear in Cultural Space (1995), Quilt (1997), and Please, Please, Please (James Brown) (2007). Holton presents single-figure works that—although not depicting masks in the proper sense—explore masklike qualities as formal structure. The close-up images of figures have a strong sculptural presence, mindful of West African masks, that focus the viewer’s attention on the factures of the surface—and their surprises. This is seen in paintings such as Indigo Woman (2016) and Blue Ananda (2017),6 in which Holton consolidates the aforementioned Afrosurrealist qualities with collagist-inspired expressionistic qualities. In these works, the viewer is controlled by the gaze of the figure depicted. In Blue Ananda, the figure looks out and engages the viewer directly, unlike Indigo Woman, in which the figure averts her gaze and accepts the assignment of being the object of observation and scrutiny. These are manifestations of Holton’s exploration of compositional structure with both subtle and pronounced differences that connect with other depictions of faces of female figures, ensuring that they are contributors to the complexity of Top: Juke Joint, 1997, ink on paper, 22 x 30 inches Above: Blue Ananda, 2017, acrylic on board, 20 x 16 inches

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the artist’s visual narratives.


Above: Things Coming, Things Going, Africa series, 1993, mixed media, 37 x 37 inches; Right: Searching for Memory (Timmy), 2016, acrylic on board, 20 x 16 inches

Further explorations of Afro-surrealist conceits are presented in Cycles of Life (2000). Here the head of a male figure emerges from a patterned watery space of biomorphic, circular figurations that overlap and are repeated in different colors within the vertical axis of the picture space. Double Speak (1992) exemplifies the artist’s

ideas about the art object as text.7 A text about a text aspect is found

ability to explore similar thematic issues using distinctly different

in Angels in Eggplant (1993), a mixed-media piece in which Holton

structural and expressive iterations.

uses metaphorical inferences to explore issues of innocence, the metaphysical, immediacy, and presence. It inspired poet MaryAnn

Works that allude to recall, nostalgia, and the mental spaces of

Miller to respond to the affecting qualities of the work in “Itinerant

memory are at times quite explicit, such as Searching for Memory

Artist” (p. 74). The structural and expressive qualities evoked the

(Timmy) (2016). Here a silhouette of a man is presented with only

word—a poetic response—to engage in dialogue with the art object.

his eyeglasses, the shape of his profile, and quirks of his hairstyle

Hence, in this regard, Holton creates texts that are about texts and

to suggest a specific identity. The orientation of his head in profile

critiques of texts. Poet Glee Ivory was also inspired by the inviting

adds to the narrative qualities of the work. Here, too, the simplicity

construct of another mixed-media piece, Things Coming, Things Going

and the use of proximate spatial cues increase the perceived size

(1993). She wrote a poem of the same name (p. 28), which begins:

of the image within the pictorial space, confirming a sense of immediacy, of the contemporaneous now.

I would. Swim to Africa,

The literary imagination is another foundational influence that is

(If she would have me)

reflected in most of Holton’s work. His exploration of text is fueled

but so much has been lost

by his interest in the writings of Jacques Derrida, particularly his

of my native self.

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SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS Holton’s desire to engage in dialogue with the viewer has led him to explore a wide variety of artistic and intellectual concepts and interrogations of his mental spaces of memory. His overarching personal philosophy is about engaging and embracing others and promoting humanistic values and concerns. However, Holton has not ignored the pathologies of racism, gender exploitation, violence, genocide, and war, which he explores through his artistic lens. Holton has endeavored to achieve a vision and expression that consolidate social awareness and Afro-surrealist intentionality in works that ultimately emphasize his artistic identity. His social awareness is connected historically to the civil rights struggle, and specifically, as he recalls, to the demonstrations and protests against apartheid conditions in South Africa that were taking place in the 1980s and 1990s in the United States and around the world. Room with Red Vector (1990) is a painting that Holton cites as his response to South African apartheid.8 Since the 1980s there have been numerous racist attacks against blacks and other people of color across the United States. However, in terms of notoriety, few, if any, surpassed the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1992, the acquittal of the officers involved, and the revolts that followed. Holton’s reading of James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son (1955), Nobody Knows My Name (1961), The Fire Next Time (1963), and other writings helped him realize that the persecution of African Americans in the United States was not separate from the oppression of non-European people in South Africa and other parts of the world. Such recognition inspired his continued exploration of the multiple dimensions of identity, race, and social and political oppression and exploitation, both explicitly and indirectly. In Dream Bait (2017), Holton explores the plight of immigrants by depicting three Somalian youths in a boat that is ostensibly set out to sea en route to the United States but is tethered by a conspicuous rope, ensuring that they will never reach their destination—they will not realize the elusive American Dream.

Above, left: Room with Red Vector (diptych) 1990, oil on canvas, 60 x 81 inches Left: Dream Bait, 2017, oil on canvas, 72 x 48 inches UMUC Permanent Collection, Gift of the artist

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Another foundational aspect of Holton’s social consciousness is

to the “doll test” experiments of psychologists Kenneth and Mamie

presented in his artist’s statement, in which he writes, “I realized

Clark.10 The Clarks conducted their studies in the 1940s, but the

I was different from members of my family and from my friends

results became universally known because their findings helped

and associates.” This conscious awareness of difference has been

the NAACP in its successful argument before the U.S. Supreme

important to him ever since his early years. A poignant example

Court that resulted in the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in

of Holton’s recognition of difference is presented in Acceptance

1954. The Clarks’ study called attention to the negative impact

(2013), which depicts an albino artist with a model. It is exemplary

that the oppression and denigration of segregation had on the

of Holton’s exploration of the issue of Other. Holton says that

self-perception and psyche of young black children. When asked to

“the albino is the artist, the ultimate outsider who can see and

identify the “nice” doll or the “pretty” doll, most of the black chil-

interpret the world differently.”9

dren selected white dolls instead of black dolls. Many young black girls throughout the country had similar white dolls that ostensibly

Holton explores additional Afro-surrealist prerogatives in works

took on the special role of protector of their young owners: the

in which the ubiquitous image of a doll appears. The doll is a

white doll with blond hair was to protect the young black girl from

trope that Holton uses to emphasize issues of race, segregation,

harm. Holton has used the doll image in compositions entitled

denigration, and other experiences of blacks. Such works connect

Patty, Save Me (2016).

Above: Acceptance, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches Left: Patty, Save Me, 2016, oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches

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Holton presents various black responses to white supremacy and racism in works such as Yella Girl (2016), Color-Struck Family (2017), Red Bone Girl (2016), and others, along with several versions of the previously mentioned Patty, Save Me. More oblique references to the experiences of African Americans and people of color in the United States is seen in Steppin’ Through the Ages (1994), which alludes to oppression and the capture of men paraded to a jail cell or to a restricted holding space. In Bred for Pleasure (1993), Holton repeats images of young females in different skin tones that suggest movement from dark to light or that they are different individuals with similar features. Such configurations suggest uncertainty and change but also allude to the plight of young women who, because of conditions of poverty, are too frequently forced into prostitution. The artist explores this theme with ambiguity through double entendre. In the 1960s, at the height of an intensified civil rights struggle and the advent of the Black Power movement, activist H. Rap Brown said, “Violence is necessary. It is as American as cherry pie.� Although himself a pacifist, Holton has explored violence in his work, such as in Whites Go on Trial for Chasing Black to His Death (1987).

Above, left: Yella Girl 2016, watercolor and pencil on paper, 20 x 16 inches Left: Bred for Pleasure, 1993 etching and monoprint on paper, 25 x 42 inches

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Above: Steppin’ Through the Ages, 1994, etching and monoprint on paper, 22 x 30 inches Above, right: Whites Go on Trial for Chasing Black to His Death, 1987, lithograph, 15 x 11 inches

In both art and life, Holton has embraced nonhierarchical ideas, philosophies, ideologies, and spiritual practices that do not foster coercion, denigration, or violence. In this respect, his stance against aggression and violence gives impetus to his penchant for critiquing racism, war, and the willingness of human beings to commit violence against other human beings.11

NOTES This essay is based on the author’s conversations with the artist and study of his work over the years as well as recent telephone interviews. 1 Curlee Holton, telephone interview with the author, April 11, 2017. 2 Holton, telephone interview, April 17, 2017. 3 Holton, telephone interview, April 11, 2017.

The works in this exhibition demonstrate that Holton has committed himself to telling the human story—the struggles, the challenges, and the affirmations—but along this artistic journey, he has learned that “the most important story is my story.”12 This is his recognition that the artist is not guided by the disinterestedness of modernist aesthetics alone but by a strong desire to engage and to expand

4 Holton, telephone interview, April 17, 2017. 5 Holton, telephone interview, April 25, 2017. 6 Holton has been influenced by Buddhist thought and practice. Blue Ananda is an image of Holton’s daughter, who is named after the Buddhist disciple Ananda.

and consequently authenticity to create works that express the

7 For an introduction to Derrida’s philosophical concepts, see “Jacques Derrida (1930–2004),” by Jack Reynolds, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/derrida/.

multiple dimensions of his reality.

8 Holton, telephone interview, April 11, 2017.

conscious awareness to the fullest extent, achieving actualization

9 Holton, telephone interview, April 25, 2017. 10 For a brief discussion of Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s work and its importance to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, see “Brown at 60: The Doll Test,” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, accessed May 12, 2017, http://www.naacpldf.org/brown-at-60-the-doll-test. 11 Holton, telephone interview, April 25, 2017. 12 Holton, telephone interview, April 17, 2017.

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WENDY WILSON-FALL, PhD Associate Professor and Chair, Africana Studies Lafayette College

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A LEGEND in your own time? A lot. One has to have one’s fingers on the pulse of the times and still have a nose for what is coming in the future. And to be this sort of person, one needs a strong spiritual foundation while living with a strong love for the beauty and “terribleness,” to use the poet Amiri Baraka’s phrase, of the material world. The artist is a witness and a mirror the way a river reflects a changed image, and the artist is

Curlee Raven Holton in his Baltimore studio, 2017

also the town crier, sometimes the canary in the mine, always the eye that looks deep. Curlee Raven Holton is an artist with all these qualities and more, who shows us glimpses of his strong spiritual world while pulling us into materiality through line, color, and colliding dimensions. The dimensions are of a diverse nature: there are the surfaces and the depths of renderings on paper, canvas, or other materials. There are also the social dimensions and stories that emerge from

the United States and in the Caribbean and Latin America. In fact, Holton has presented more than 70 public lectures on his work, African American art, and contemporary printmaking. He has been invited to contribute to scholarly journals and other collections and has traveled to Italy to present demonstrations and lectures on art making and the creative process.

these environments: stories about identity, love, anger, distress,

Where does an African American artist come from? What does

loneliness or crowds, and being a human classified as black,

he or she draw from? How does it happen? What does the black

African American, or Other.

American experience have to do with it? How does African Amer-

Holton is a master printmaker who works in diverse mediums. His distinguished career includes his leadership in creating the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College in 1996, his appointment as the David and Linda Roth Professor of Art at Lafayette in 2010, and his exhibition of more than 50 solo shows within the United States and abroad. His work is in many private and public collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, and Library of Congress. He has exhibited works in Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and Costa Rica. He is a well-respected expert on the history of African American art, as well as on contemporary African American visual artists, and has championed Latin American contemporary art consistently and with enthusiasm during his career. Faith Ringgold has said, “He creates exhibitions like he creates art, with a compelling force and directness.”1

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A gifted teacher as well, Holton has led workshops throughout

ican art reflect dialogues within the African American community, or between that community and others, if it does at all? In Holton’s work, we sense the pull of history, as we sense his work pushing against history and stereotypical dialogue. At times his paintings and prints are speechifying, testifying, bearing witness, expressing and demanding humility, and also engaging us in existential questions of human fragility and the human condition. After all is said and done, we know that we are looking at and experiencing visual narratives of the universal truth of the human condition. Holton suggests to us the advantage of knowing one’s humanity, its limits, its secrets, and its futures and possibilities. His work entails the genius of looking through the window of one experience to the world, of engaging the world through an experience of interpretation not based on doubt but on conviction that yes, I did see that. I did feel that. That did happen.


He creates exhibitions like he creates art, with a compelling force and directness. FAITH RINGGOLD

Holton says, “After boot camp training, I was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, where I was assigned to the Second Cavalry Mechanized Division. After completing my regularly assigned duties, I would draw in my spare time. . . . I was selected to give art lessons to soldiers who had just returned from Vietnam, who were either injured or addicted to narcotics. This connection, with what was called special services for GIs and their families, led me to submit a painting for the 5th Army arts competition, for which I received an award. I believe this was one of those important moments

The artist giving a printmaking demonstration, 2010

of self-validation that helped me to establish a greater sense of self-confidence in my artistic talents.” The artist also confides that “as a young artist, I was often encouraged to find my own voice. As a mature artist, it became clear that it was not merely having a voice or a technique but a song to sing, a subject to investigate, a project worthy of one’s sacrifice of time, energy, and passions. For me, that purpose has been to better understand humanity by better understanding myself.”2

Holton went on to study at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he received his BFA in drawing and printmaking, and at Kent State University, where he received his MFA. He quickly moved on to solo and group exhibits, and his work drew the attention of collectors around the country. Holton was born in Mississippi, and though his family soon moved north to Cleveland, Ohio, they did not leave the black culture of the Deep South behind. The fertile environment of the Black Belt has produced genres of American music, specifically jazz, the blues, and spirituals, just as surely as it has made a mark on many African American visual artists. In Holton’s case, we feel it in the bright colors, strong lines, and rhythmic repetitive patterns that characterize so much of his work. But we also see the art of storytelling, the oral text traditions that brought stories such as those of Brer Rabbit and other narrative imports from West Africa. Many, if not most, of Holton’s pieces tell us stories, or parts of stories, or perhaps are made to remind us of important stories. This narrative strength, coupled with the use of primary colors and precise fields of dark hues, recalls the vibrancy and lyricism of jazz and its predecessor, the blues. These qualities come through in works such as Blind Spots II (2004), a lithograph; Close

Holton receives an award for his diptych painting Refugees Philadelphia, USA, 1988

Quarters II (1990), a multimedia piece; Intrusion (2009), a painting; and in much of the work of his Blues series, such as Quilt (1997).

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The haunting image in Shango and the American Dream (1992) reminds us of stories of “haints” and spirits while also engaging us in difficult ideas about America and American symbols, in this case joined with a figure that seems to have wandered off an early 20th-century rural advertisement. The same diaphanous world returns in his paintings My Father’s Heart Is in My Chest (2012) and Apparition (2000). These scenes almost taunt the viewer and suggest that magical and portentous things are happening just beyond view. Christine Oaklander wrote that “although Curlee grew up in a close-knit community, hanging out on the streets with neighborhood kids, at home there were high expectations for proper behavior and academic success.”3 This push and pull of a close-

. . . as a young artist, I was often encouraged to find my own voice. As a mature artist, it became clear that it was not merely having a voice or a technique but a song to sing, a subject to investigate, a project worthy of one’s sacrifice of time, energy, and passions. CURLEE RAVEN HOLTON

knit, insular community and a somewhat raucous group childhood

experience, of high parental expectations in contrast to enjoyment of music, dance, and other art making has been a common characteristic of the black community. One could say that these experiences—and the art they eventually inspired—exist in the same epistemological universe as the texts by Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me, and the works of literary giants Richard Wright and James Baldwin. Certainly Holton’s watery, clouded, and dreamy works like Apparition are not without their thematic counterparts in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved. The kernel of Holton’s approach is somewhere between these ontologies of black being and his own sensitivities as a trained, disciplined, and expressive artist who seeks the world through his own eyes, on his own terms. The theme of redemption also runs through Holton’s work. His corpus is not limited to visual conversations about the sad, the lonely, the angry, or the tragic. Much of his work engages in imagined tomorrows and the hopeful now, such as his painting Silence (2012); his work English Only (2009), where the central figure seems to look out of the canvas with a reserved smile; or the mixed-media Blessings from Foreigners (1997). Likewise, while most would think of the images that he compiled on the theme of Othello as tragic, there is something triumphant in these renderings of the famous Moor from Shakespeare. Holton’s Othello is solid; he is contemplative. He seems to master his world and to own his destiny. Shango and the American Dream, 1992, cut plate etching, 30 x 22 inches

16


My Father’s Heart Is in My Chest, 2012, oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches

English Only, 2009, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches

Holton’s most recent work continues with this theme of tragedy

NOTES

and triumph. One of the most exciting is his painting Patty, Save Me (2016). This work recalls earlier styles and places its subjects firmly in the center of the canvas; the two figures gaze directly out to the viewer. The colors and structure of this painting combine the complexity of composition (as well as the almost whimsical use of line) of the Othello series with the nuanced color palette of works such as English Only and My Father’s Heart Is in My Chest in a strong and resolute way that again puts us in front of the artist as witness and interpreter.

1 Faith Ringgold, introduction to Tellin' It Like It Is: The Art of Curlee Raven Holton (Atlanta, Georgia: Hammonds House Museum, 2008). Exhibition catalog. 2 Curlee Holton, “When Did I First Become an Artist?” A Visit to My House: A Personal and Public Narrative, Thirty Years of Art by Curlee Raven Holton (Macon, Georgia: Tubman Museum, 2012). Exhibition catalog. 3 Christine Oaklander, essay in In the Shadow of Contemplation (Galloway, New Jersey: Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton University, 2014). Exhibition catalog.

In all of his works, Curlee Holton engages a universal gaze, showing us the humanity of all human circumstances, big or small, known or mystery.

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CYCLES OF LIFE 2000, RELIEF WOOD CUT, 40 X 40 INCHES

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I CANNOT REMEMBER A TIME WHEN I WAS NOT DIFFERENT— different from my family members, different from my friends. A sense of being confused and amazed by the world at the same moment was my constant companion. As a child I sought to find my way with few candles to light my path, but I had an unexplainable internal faith that I was not only different but had something special to say. The reflection I saw in the mirror of this strange creature made up of green eyes, curly hair, large ears, swollen lips, and a gap between his front teeth reminded me that I was the issue of both my parents. I was an odd mix of their physical traits, but like all children, I was perplexed by the thought that I somehow came from them. This sense of individuality remains with me to this very day and informs my decisions and motivation as an artist. A belief—perhaps, in the final analysis, a self-serving belief—that what I have to offer in reaction to my experiences and interpretation of the world and the society I live in is valuable and essential to my own existence. My work as an artist—influenced by my academic training and study of the European masters, revolutionary artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—seeks to find a voice through the styles and values of these traditions. The one thing that continues to assert itself through these influences and forces is a fundamental desire to record my thoughts, emotions, and experiences as though they were important, worth looking at and listening to. My work has been a journey through my own looking glass. That journey continues to return to me. I believe the greatest gift an individual can give is their story as a part of the universal story of our being in the world. | CURLEE RAVEN HOLTON

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WHITES GO ON TRIAL FOR CHASING BLACK TO HIS DEATH 1987, LITHOGRAPH, 15 X 11 INCHES

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ROOM WITH RED VECTOR (DIPTYCH) 1990, OIL ON CANVAS , 60 X 81 INCHES

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MAN, MASK, MEANING (DIPTYCH) 1991, ETCHING ON PAPER, 22 X 60 INCHES

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ANGELS IN EGGPLANT 1993, OIL AND PHOTO COLLAGE ON CANVAS, 37 X 36 INCHES

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BRED FOR PLEASURE 1993, ETCHING AND MONOPRINT ON PAPER, 25 X 42 INCHES

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DOUBLE SPEAK 1992, ETCHING, 19 X 21 INCHES

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SHANGO AND THE AMERICAN DREAM 1992, CUT PLATE ETCHING, 30 X 22 INCHES

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Things Coming, Things Going by Glee Ivory | 1993 I would. Swim to Africa, (if she would have me) but so much has been lost of my native self. Would she remember, and claim me, or would she smile graciously . . . at the foreigner, awkward in her Western clothes. Would she treat me like one of a steady stream of visitors enamored by the sights. Would she thank me like she thanks self-conscious missionaries, (intent to set her right) practicing ancient powerful rituals my ancestors learned before the world was white. And would she in private whispers, a soft yawn against the night, query how faces like mine can look so tentative, black and yet so light. Glee Ivory, a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, wrote this poem for Curlee Raven Holton’s 1990s Africa series after the artist returned from a Fullbright Fellowship to West Africa.

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THINGS COMING, THINGS GOING, AFRICA SERIES 1993, MIXED MEDIA, 37 X 37 INCHES

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BABY DOLL 1994, MIXED MEDIA, 25 X 31 INCHES

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STEPPIN’ THROUGH THE AGES 1994, ETCHING AND MONOPRINT ON PAPER, 22 X 30 INCHES

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BLUES FOR THE SERPENTS’ LOVE 1997, INK ON PAPER, 22 X 30 INCHES

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COME ON, GO WID ME 1997, INK ON PAPER, 23 X 29 INCHES

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WHY ARE YOU HERE? 1993, OIL AND PHOTO COLLAGE ON CANVAS, 42 X 38 INCHES

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CULTURAL SPACE 1995, MIXED MEDIA, 29 X 21 INCHES

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QUILT, BLUES SERIES 1997, ETCHING WITH COLLAGE ELEMENTS, 22 X 30 INCHES

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LUCID BREATH 2001, SERIGRAPH ON PLEXIGLASS, 48 X 36 INCHES

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GO’N TO THE FIELD 1997, INK ON PAPER, 22 X 30 INCHES

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JUKE JOINT 1997, INK ON PAPER, 22 X 30 INCHES

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APPARITION 2000, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS , 48 X 48 INCHES

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LINES IN MOTION 2000, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 40 X 32 INCHES

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BLOW’N IT 2001, WOODCUT, 21 X 17 INCHES

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JAM’N 2001, WOODCUT, 21 X 17 INCHES

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PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE (JAMES BROWN) 2007, ACRYLIC AND WATERCOLOR ON PAPER, 24 X 18 INCHES

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THE HOUSE MY NEIGHBORHOOD BUILT 2008, PENCIL DRAWING, 21 X 17 INCHES

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ENGLISH ONLY 2009, OIL ON CANVAS, 60 X 48 INCHES

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INTRUSION 2009, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 36 X 24 INCHES

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MY FATHER’S HEART IS IN MY CHEST 2012, OIL ON CANVAS, 32 X 26 INCHES

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BUT SHE IS BLACK 2012, OIL ON CANVAS, 36 X 36 INCHES

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BEHOLD THE MOOR OF VENICE, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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DREAMS OF TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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FESTIVAL OF PIAZZA SAN MARCO, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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KNOWLEDGE OF BETRAYAL, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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THE ARRIVAL, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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THE SEDUCTION, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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ONE KISS BEFORE DEATH, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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OTHELLO'S REFLECTIONS BEFORE VENICE, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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TO BE A HERO AND NOT A PRETENDER, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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TO LIVE WITH THE MASK OF THE PAST, OTHELLO SERIES 2013, SEPIA-COLORED ETCHING, 22 X 15 INCHES

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SILENCE 2012, OIL ON CANVAS, 36 X 36 INCHES

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ACCEPTANCE 2013, OIL ON CANVAS, 48 X 36 INCHES

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A STARRY-EYED NEGRO, BORN ON APRIL 4, 1968, THE DAY MARTIN LUTHER KING WAS ASSASSINATED 2014, WATERCOLOR ON PAPER, 20 X 16 INCHES

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FLOATING MEMORIES (OSAKA, JAPAN) 2014, OIL ON PANEL, 24 X 18 INCHES

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MONTAGUE’S MOMENT 2013, OIL ON CANVAS, 72 X 40 INCHES

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THE ARAB 2015, INK AND CHARCOAL, 20 X 16 INCHES

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THE FLOW, CUBA SERIES 2014, WATERCOLOR ON PAPER, 12 X 9 INCHES

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PRINCESS SANTERIA, CUBA SERIES 2014, WATERCOLOR ON PAPER, 12 X 9 INCHES

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CUBAN NIGHT 2015, OIL ON BOARD, 20 X 16 INCHES

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SEARCHING FOR MEMORY (TIMMY) 2016, ACRYLIC ON BOARD, 20 X 16 INCHES

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PATTY, SAVE ME 2016, OIL ON CANVAS, 60 X 40 INCHES

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INDIGO WOMAN 2016, OIL ON BOARD, 20 X 16 INCHES

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RED BONE GIRL 2016, WATERCOLOR ON PAPER, 20 X 16 INCHES

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YELLA GIRL 2016, WATERCOLOR AND PENCIL ON PAPER, 20 X 16 INCHES

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Itinerant Artist by MaryAnn L. Miller | 2017

You learned to find hinges in tamarind trees by following the scent of cumin and fecundity beneath the canopy.

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own. —Rabindranath Tagore The monarch migrates to its beginning; we too circle back as we move forward cracking the chrysalis, bursting inertia. The first time you left the house alone your mama said: little man. Your daddy said: call when you find work. You lived there in the odor of machine oil, now, you live here in the aroma of intaglio. Between then and now you crossed ultramarine borders embroidered on a large Shogun map showing the ports, the mountains where the gods live, where

Your sister said: What is it you do again? When you gonna quit that? Your brother asked: Where you at? I’ll be back around, you said, when the time is ripe. Fly There says another sign and you did soaring with other flying men circling a drum as the bruja swept you with smoke. Like all voladores, you swung like a weathervane, finally touching down, untying the rope. By going away, you found your place.

rubble ends and treasure is in open hands. MaryAnn L. Miller published Locus Mentis,

A sign said Dig Here and you dug, excavating Venetian canals wading deep through fluid Othello images.

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a book of poems, in 2011. Also a visual artist, Miller designs and publishes hand-bound artist books, pairing artists and poets through her press, www.luciapress.com.


DREAM BAIT 2017, OIL ON CANVAS, 72 X 48 INCHES UMUC PERMANENT COLLECTION, GIFT OF THE ARTIST

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SOMALIAN YOUTH AMERICAN DREAM FANTASY 2016, WATERCOLOR ON PAPER, 20 X 16 INCHES

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BLUE ANANDA 2017, ACRYLIC ON BOARD, 20 X 16 INCHES

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THE SHADOWS THAT ARE HIDDEN 2017, DIGITAL RELIEF, 41 X 30 INCHES

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SEASONS OF INNOCENCE 2017, OIL ON CANVAS, 72 X 60 INCHES

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COLOR-STRUCK FAMILY 2017, OIL ON CANVAS, 40 X 60 INCHES

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YELLOW GIRL IN A BLACK WORLD 2017, OIL ON CANVAS, 48 X 36 INCHES

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Bred for Pleasure 1993, etching and monoprint on paper, 25 x 42 inches Acceptance 2013, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches

But She Is Black 2012, oil on canvas 36 x 36 inches

Angels in Eggplant 1993, oil and photo collage on canvas, 37 x 36 inches

Color-Struck Family 2017, oil on canvas 40 x 60 inches

Apparition 2000, acrylic on canvas 48 x 48 inches

Come On, Go Wid Me 1997, ink on paper 23 x 29 inches

The Arab 2015, ink and charcoal 20 x 16 inches

Cuban Night 2015, oil on board 20 x 16 inches

The Arrival Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches

Cultural Space 1995, mixed media 29 x 21 inches

Baby Doll 1994, mixed media 25 x 31 inches Behold the Moor of Venice Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches Blow’n It 2001, woodcut 21 x 17 inches Blue Ananda 2017, acrylic on board 20 x 16 inches Blues for the Serpents’ Love 1997, ink on paper 22 x 30 inches

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Cycles of Life 2000, relief wood cut 40 x 40 inches Double Speak 1992, etching 19 x 21 inches Dream Bait 2017, oil on canvas 72 x 48 inches UMUC Permanent Collection Gift of the artist

Festival of Piazza San Marco Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches Floating Memories (Osaka, Japan) 2014, oil on panel 24 x 18 inches The Flow Cuba series, 2014 watercolor on paper 12 x 9 inches Go’n to the Field 1997, ink on paper 22 x 30 inches The House My Neighborhood Built 2008, pencil drawing 21 x 17 inches Indigo Woman 2016, oil on board 20 x 16 inches Intrusion 2009, acrylic on canvas 36 x 24 inches Jam’n 2001, woodcut 21 x 17 inches Juke Joint 1997, ink on paper 22 x 30 inches

Dreams of Two Different Worlds Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches

Knowledge of Betrayal Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches

English Only 2009, oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches

Lines in Motion 2000, acrylic on canvas 40 x 32 inches


Lucid Breath 2001, serigraph on plexiglass 48 x 36 inches

Red Bone Girl 2016, watercolor on paper 20 x 16 inches

Steppin’ Through the Ages 1994, etching and monoprint on paper, 22 x 30 inches

Man, Mask, Meaning (diptych) 1991, etching on paper 22 x 60 inches

Room with Red Vector (diptych) 1990, oil on canvas 60 x 81 inches

Things Coming, Things Going Africa series, 1993 mixed media 37 x 37 inches

Montague’s Moment 2013, oil on canvas 72 x 40 inches

Searching for Memory (Timmy) 2016, acrylic on board 20 x 16 inches

My Father’s Heart Is in My Chest 2012, oil on canvas 32 x 26 inches

Seasons of Innocence 2017, oil on canvas 72 x 60 inches

One Kiss Before Death Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches

The Seduction Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches

Othello’s Reflections Before Venice Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches

The Shadows That Are Hidden 2017, digital relief 41 x 30 inches

Patty, Save Me 2016, oil on canvas 60 x 40 inches Please, Please, Please (James Brown) 2007, acrylic and watercolor on paper 24 x 18 inches Princess Santeria Cuba series, 2014 watercolor on paper 12 x 9 inches Quilt Blues series, 1997 etching with collage elements 22 x 30 inches

Shango and the American Dream 1992, cut plate etching 30 x 22 inches Silence 2012, oil on canvas 36 x 36 inches Somalian Youth American Dream Fantasy 2016, watercolor on paper 20 x 16 inches

To Be a Hero and Not a Pretender Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches To Live with the Mask of the Past Othello series, 2013 sepia-colored etching 22 x 15 inches Whites Go on Trial for Chasing Black to His Death 1987, lithograph 15 x 11 inches Why Are You Here? 1993, oil and photo collage on canvas 42 x 38 inches Yella Girl 2016, watercolor and pencil on paper 20 x 16 inches Yellow Girl in a Black World 2017, oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches

A Starry-Eyed Negro, Born on April 4, 1968, the Day Martin Luther King Was Assassinated 2014, watercolor on paper 20 x 16 inches

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SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

CURLEE RAVEN HOLTON Born: 1951 DeKalb, Mississippi

EDUCATION Master of Fine Arts, 1990 Kent State University Honors College, Ohio Concentration: Printmaking and Painting Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1987 Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio

84

2017

Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio

2014

Soho Creative, New York, New York

Cochran Gallery, LaGrange, Georgia

Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton University, Galloway, New Jersey

2013

State University of New York College at Geneseo, New York

2012

Tubman Museum, Macon, Georgia

Williams Center Gallery, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania

2011

ArtSake Gallery, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Skillman Library, Lafayette College

2010

Casa de la Cultura de Azcapotzalco,

Mexico City, Mexico

Major: Drawing; Minor: Printmaking

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

SELECTED AWARDS

2017

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, Mississippi

Constructing Identity, Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, Portland Art Museum, Oregon

2016

African American Art Since 1950: Perspectives from the David C. Driskell Center, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

To Be Black in White America, Galerie Myrtis, Baltimore, Maryland

Jazz Speaks for Life: Discover the Civil Rights Movement Through Music and Visual Expression, American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Kansas

A Collaboration of Creativity—Two Masters: David C. Driskell, Master Artist, and Curlee R. Holton, Master Printmaker, Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania

Othello series, Tompkins Public Library, Ithaca, New York

2015

Anyone Can Fly Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

2010

David M. and Linda Roth Professor of Art, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania

2006

Lafayette College James E. Lennertz Prize for Exceptional Teaching and Mentoring

2004

Lafayette College Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award

2002

Lafayette College Fellowship Award

1999

Carl R. and Ingeborg Beidleman Research Award, Lafayette College

Fine Arts Award, Fine Arts Commission of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

1992

Fulbright Award, Ghana Trip

1990

National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship

Mary McLeod Bethune Award for Scholarship


SELECTED COLLECTIONS

2015

Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, Ben Shahn Gallery, William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey

Survey of African American Art, University Museums, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

2014

Art in Embassies, U.S. Embassy, Singapore

Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Convergence: Jazz, Films, and the Visual Arts, Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine

British Petroleum Corporate Collection, Cleveland, Ohio

Th(ink)ing: The Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College, Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio

Anniversary Exhibit, William Busta Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio

Brandywine Workshop Collection, Collins Memorial Library, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington

Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation, Allentown, Pennsylvania

2012

Selections from the Collection, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Foundation of Culture Rodolfo Morales, Oaxaca, Mexico

The Best of Experimental Printmaking Institute: A 20-Year Legacy of Founder and Director Curlee Raven Holton, Printmaking Center of New Jersey, Branchburg, New Jersey

Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, New Jersey

Celebrating Our Legacy: The 20th-Anniversary Exhibition of Art in the Atrium, Morris Museum, Morristown, New Jersey

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

2011

Experimental Printmaking Institute Group Show, Universidad Autonóma Metropolitana, Mexico City, Mexico

The Chemistry of Color: The Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African American Art, Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

EPI Collection, Tubman Museum, Macon, Georgia

Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

African American Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania

2010

Gallery Ami-Kanoko, Osaka, Japan

Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio 


Columbia Museum of Art, South Carolina

African American Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania American Corner, U.S. Embassy, Limón, Costa Rica

Cleveland Art Association, Ohio

David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland David C. Driskell Collection (private; multiple locations)

Discovery Museum and Planetarium, Bridgeport, Connecticut

Governor’s Mansion, Charleston, West Virginia

LaGrange Art Museum, Georgia Lewis Tanner Moore Collection, Warrington, Pennsylvania

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Tennessee Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Hadley, Massachusetts Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San Jose, Costa Rica

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Skillman Library, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania Taller de Artes Plásticas Rufino Tamayo, Oaxaca, Mexico Universidad de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica University Museums, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

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UMUC ART ADVISORY BOARD Javier Miyares President University of Maryland University College Anne V. Maher, Esq., Chair Attorney at Law Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker, LLP Eva J. Allen, PhD, Honorary Member Art Historian Myrtis Bedolla, Vice Chair Owner and Founding Director Galerie Myrtis Joan Bevelaqua Artist, Collegiate Professor University of Maryland University College Schroeder Cherry, EdD Artist, Adjunct Professor of Museum Studies Morgan State University I-Ling Chow, Honorary Member Regional President and Managing Director, Ret. Asia Bank, N.A. Nina C. Dwyer Artist, Adjunct Professor of Art Montgomery College Karin Goldstein, Honorary Member Collector and Patron of the Arts Juanita Boyd Hardy, Honorary Member Executive Director, CulturalDC Sharon Smith Holston, Honorary Member Artist’s Representative and Co-Owner Holston Originals Pamela G. Holt Consultant Public Affairs and Cultural Policy Administration

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Eric Key Director, Arts Program University of Maryland University College Thomas Li, Honorary Member Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ret. Biotech Research Labs, Inc. David Maril, Honorary Member Journalist President, Herman Maril Foundation Terrie S. Rouse President, Rouse Consulting Christopher Shields Director, Business Operations NASDAQ.com Barbara Stephanic, PhD, Honorary Member Professor Emerita of Art History College of Southern Maryland

Joseph V. Bowen Jr. Senior Vice President, Operations, and Managing Principal, Ret. McKissack & McKissack David W. Bower Chief Executive Officer Data Computer Corporation of America Karl R. Gumtow Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer CyberPoint International, LLC Anne V. Maher, Esq. Attorney at Law Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker, LLP Lt. Gen. Emmett Paige Jr., U.S. Army, Ret. Vice President of Operations, Ret. Department of Defense/ Intelligence Services Lockheed Martin Information Technology

Dianne A. Whitfield-Locke, DDS Collector and Patron of the Arts Owner, Dianne Whitfield-Locke Dentistry

Sharon R. Pinder President and Chief Executive Officer Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council

Sharon Wolpoff Artist and Owner Wolpoff Studios

Brig. Gen. Velma L. Richardson, U.S. Army, Ret. President, VLR Consulting

Elizabeth Zoltan, PhD Collector and Patron of the Arts

William T. (Bill) Wood, JD Founder, Wood Law Offices, LLC

UMUC BOARD OF VISITORS

Joyce M. Wright Senior Consultant, Fitzgerald Consulting

Mark J. Gerencser, Chair Chairman of the Board CyberSpa, LLC Evelyn J. Bata, PhD Professor Emerita University of Maryland University College Richard F. Blewitt, Member Emeritus Managing Partner, R&B Associates, and President, The Blewitt Foundation


ABOUT UMUC

ARTS PROGRAM MISSION STATEMENT

SERVING BUSY PROFESSIONALS WORLDWIDE

The Arts Program at UMUC creates an environment in which its

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) specializes

diverse constituents, including members of the university com-

in high-quality academic programs that are convenient for busy

munity and the general public, can study and learn about art by

professionals. Our undergraduate and graduate programs are

directly experiencing it.

specifically tailored to fit into the demanding lives of those who wish to pursue a respected degree that can advance them personally and grow their careers.

The Arts Program seeks to promote the university’s core values and to provide educational opportunities for lifelong learning. From the research and study of works of art to the teaching

UMUC has earned a worldwide reputation for excellence as a

applications of each of our exhibitions, the Arts Program will play

comprehensive virtual university and, through a combination of

an increasing role in academic life at the university. With a regional

classroom and distance-learning formats, provides educational

and national focus, the Arts Program is dedicated to the acquisi-

opportunities to more than 80,000 students.

tion, preservation, study, exhibition, and interpretation of works of art of the highest quality in a variety of media that represent its

The university is proud to offer a distinguished faculty of scholar-

constituents and to continuing its historic dedication to Maryland

practitioners and world-class student services to educate students

and Asian art.

online, throughout Maryland, across the United States, and in more than 20 countries and territories around the world. For more information regarding UMUC and its programs, visit umuc.edu.

ABOUT THE ARTS PROGRAM AT UMUC Since 1978, UMUC has proudly shown works from a large coll-

CONTRIBUTORS Director, Arts Program: Eric Key Curators: Eric Key, Jon West-Bey Editors: Sandy Bernstein, Beth Butler, Barbara Reed

ection of international and Maryland artists at its headquarters

Director, Institutional Projects: Cynthia Friedman

in Adelphi, Maryland, a few miles from the nation’s capital.

Designer: Jennifer Norris

Through its Arts Program, the university provides a prestigious

Project Manager: Laurie Bushkoff

and wide-ranging forum for emerging and established artists and brings art to the community through special exhibitions and its

Production Manager: Scott Eury

own collections, which have grown to include more than 2,800

Fine Arts Technician: René A. Sanjines

pieces of art.

Administrative Assistant: Tawanna Manago

Artworks are on display throughout the College Park Marriott

Photography: artwork and artist studio photos by John Woo, historical photos courtesy of the artist

Hotel & Conference Center at UMUC and the Administration Building in Adelphi as well as at the UMUC Academic Center at Largo. The main, lower-level gallery in Adelphi is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, and the Leroy Merritt Center for the Art of Joseph Sheppard is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. More than 75,000 students, scholars, and visitors come to the Adelphi facilities each year.

ON THE COVER: Quilt, Blues series, 1997, etching with collage elements, 22 x 30 inches

Exhibitions at the UMUC Academic Center at Largo are open to

Funding for this project was provided by the Wolpoff Family Foundation,

visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Maryland State Arts Council, and Friends of the Arts Program.

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Journey: The Artistry of Curlee Raven Holton August 13–November 26, 2017 Š 2017 University of Maryland University College. All rights reserved. Copyright credits and attribution for certain illustrations are cited internally proximate to the illustrations. ISBN: 13:978-0-9842265-0-4 ISBN: 10:0-98442265-0-8

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BUT SHE IS BLACK 2012, OIL ON CANVAS, 36 X 36 INCHES

UMUC Curlee Raven Holton Exhibition, 2017  
UMUC Curlee Raven Holton Exhibition, 2017  

Learn about the Journey: The Artistry of Curlee Raven Holton exhibition at University of Maryland University College.