An exhibition of painting and photography by Holly Roberts opens at the Morpeth Contemporary Gallery in Hopewell this Saturday, October 19 with a reception for the artist from 6 to 8 p.m.
Ms. Robert’s career is an evolution of methods and materials, which has determined, along with the changing curiosities of her mind and eye, an evolution of her narrative driven imagery as well. She studied and trained in printmaking, painting, and drawing, initially turning to photography as a source for reference material. Yet for the past three decades the photograph has had an essential presence in her work, even though she considers herself a painter foremost.
The artist’s early work focused on transforming the photograph with paint: applying oil paint over a gelatin silver print, at times completely obscuring the photograph, but most often pulling out bits and pieces of the photo to define the image. She eventually reversed the manner in which she constructed her images, starting with an abstract painting and then adding photographic elements so that the painted surface became the substrate for the photographic collage that was to follow.
“What I am trying for is a painting that can stand alone but that won’t dominate the photo collage that is to follow. Once I start forming the story (made from my photographs), I allow the photos that I’ve chosen to inform the image, starting with only a vague idea of what it is that I am trying to define. The collage works best when constructed of photographic pieces that make metaphorical or poetic connections to the subject matter, rather than literal representations.”
Ms. Roberts’ work comprises elements of portraiture, nature, and narrative, and are often about the psyche and soul. The visual language in which she speaks has been influenced by myriad sources in varied disciplines: primitive art, folk art, both abstract and figurative painting, as well as photography. With her unique combination of photography and paint Holly Roberts processes the world through her eyes and her hands. Her art is a personal response to experience and a critical response to society, imbued with intuition, wit, pathos, and humor.
A two-time recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts for Photography, Ms. Roberts has exhibited her work extensively since 1980, both nationally and internationally. Her work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. It has been published in three monographs.
A catalog accompanies the exhibition, which continues through November 16 at the Morpeth Contemporary, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell, New Jersey 08525. For more information, contact (609) 333-9393 or firstname.lastname@example.org.