Blues For A Serpent’s Love and Quilt appear in Sound: Print: Record: African American Legacies until Dec. 6
The exhibit, which runs through Dec. 6, is devoted to the visual arts and black musical traditions. It juxtaposes historical, documentary photographs of musical performers with modern and contemporary artworks that engage the legacy of African American music.
Holton’s pieces, the ink drawing Blues For A Serpent’s Love and the etching/collage Quilt, are from his 1997 Blues series.
“[The Blues series was] inspired by my own experience of being born in rural Mississippi,” Holton writes in the exhibition catalogue. “My father listened to the blues and his speech was very similar to how the blues singers sang. The great blues players like B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, and John Lee Hooker were born from the same cloth as my father and the black men around me. The blues represented the primordial crying out of the Negro for relief from the pain of slavery and legacy of disenfranchisement–disenfranchisement of the body and heart as well as economics and social opportunities.”
Holton’s prints and paintings have been exhibited professionally in more than 30 one-person shows and more than 80 group shows, including prestigious national and international venues such as Egypt’s International Biennale; Taller de arts Plasticas Rufino Tamayo in Oaxaca, Mexico; Cleveland Museum of Art; and Whitney Museum of American Art.
His work is in many private and public collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art; Discovery Museum of Art and Science in Bridgeport, Conn.; West Virginia Governor’s Mansion; Foundation of Culture Rodolfo Morales in Oaxaca, Mexico; Yale University Art Gallery; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and the Library of Congress.
The Experimental Printmaking Institute was established by Holton in 1996 to promote research and experimentation within the print medium. Since its inception, the EPI visiting artist and artist-in-residence programs have introduced students to over 50 artists from diverse cultural and social backgrounds. The visiting artists have provided students with talented, well-educated, and ambitious role models. Their residencies have inspired print editions, experimental works, and artists’ books.