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A Symphony of Color: The Lyrical Paintings of Joseph Holston

April 7 - July 23, 2006



(above: Joseph Holston. Photo courtesy of the artist. © 2002 Joseph Holston)


The latest exhibition at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto highlights the work of one of America's most acclaimed contemporary artists. The Museum is pleased to be showing the work of Washington, D.C. artist Joseph Holston in the exhibition, A Symphony of Color: The Lyrical Paintings of Joseph Holston. The exhibition, which features 60 brilliant works, opens April 7 and will remain on view through July 23, 2006.



(above: Joseph Holston, The Elder, 2002, oil on linen, 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Joseph Holston)


Holston's signature cubist/abstractionist style has evolved over a career spanning more than 25 years. His career as a painter and printmaker began with years of self-study, augmented by study with renowned artists Marcos Blahove in Washington and Richard Goetz in Santa Fe, N.M. Holston also attended Howard University and Montgomery College in Maryland, and enjoyed invaluable advice and encouragement from Harlem Renaissance artists Lois Mailou Jones and James Wells.



(above: Joseph Holston, Summer Shower, 2003, oil on linen, 50 x 60 inches. Collection of the University of Maryland University College. © Joseph Holston)


"It is truly an honor to bring the art of Joseph Holston to the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art," said SAMA Fine Arts Curator, Dr. Graziella Marchicelli. "Holston's passion for the act of painting is visible in each painting, drawing and print. The artist intends to create a dialogue within the painting itself, with the subject, color and form all working together as a single visual message."



(above: Joseph Holston, Cello Concerto, 2002, oil on linen, 36 x 36 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Joseph Holston)


Three basic elements are dominant in Holston's work: the geometric figure, color, and line. For the artist, color and line set the mood of the painting and also serve as the guide for the meaning of each individual work. Holston is strongly drawn to the French Fauvist painters' application of primary colors as a means of expression. He reduces his figures to the most fundamental essence of form and design and, in combination with bold color and simple lines, he produces a most expressive message. His subjects are individuals of strong, solid dignity within the African American community. The figures in his paintings go beyond a simple representation of individuals, and instead speak of the varied types within a rich and complex culture focused on living and experiencing the joys and dramas of everyday life. Holston's style and subject matter is grounded in the Harlem Renaissance tradition, and strongly influenced by the works of Jacob Lawrence, William H. Johnson and Charles Alston, though the artist's style remains uniquely his own with a strong, individualist voice.



(above: Joseph Holston, Man in Boat, 2003, oil on linen, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Joseph Holston)


"Holston's work in part comes out of the strong and layered legacy of the artists of the Harlem Renaissance, whose tradition was to portray social commentary depicting social injustice suffered by African Americans," said Marchicelli. "But unlike his predecessors, Holston forges his own aesthetic vocabulary; his subjects and style portray a social class with a strong and solid dignity, providing a bolder, more intellectual and more modern message."

The Museum will hold an opening reception to celebrate the exhibition on Saturday, April 8. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. and features a gallery tour with artist, Joseph Holston. Cocktails and a light buffet will be served. Fee. Reservations are required by April 5, and can be made by calling the Museum at (814) 472-3920.

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Joseph Holston has a website at http://www.holstonart.com which contains the following additional biographical information on the artist's exhibitions and inclusion in collections:

Joseph Holston's cubist abstractionist style has evolved over a fine arts career spanning over thirty years. A critically acclaimed artist, he has exhibited at the Washington County Museum of Fine Art in Hagerstown, Maryland; the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio; the Smithsonian Institution?s Anacostia Museum, Washington, D. C.; the Fort Worth Museum of Fine Art, Texas; the Afro-American Museum, Philadelphia; the Arts Program Gallery at the University of Maryland University College; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; North Carolina A & T State University; Delaware State University; the APEX Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; the Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida; and the DuSable Museum, Chicago.
He has also exhibited and been a guest lecturer at DePauw University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the University of Dar es Salaam, Howard University, Delaware State University, Bowling Green State University, Villa Julie College, and the Visual Arts Center of N. W. Florida. He has also been artist in residence at North Carolina A & T State University, and at the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. His work has been commissioned by North Carolina A & T State University, the AFL-CIO, the Miller Brewing Company, the National Urban Coalition, the National Medical Association, Gallo Winery, and the Washington Urban League.
Works by Joseph Holston are included in numerous museum, institution and private collections. Among these are the permanent collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Washington County Museum of Fine Art; Butler Institute of American Art; the Yale University Art Gallery; the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design; the Banneker-Douglass Museum, Annapolis, Maryland; the King-Tisdell Cottage Museum, Savannah, Georgia; the Lyndon B. Johnson Library at the University of Texas; DePauw University, Howard University, the University of Maryland University College, the University of Vermont, the AFL-CIO, Washington, D. C.; the Hubert H. Humphrey Collection, the Evans-Tibbs Collection, the Donald Byrd Collection, the Jean and Robert Steele Collection, the David and Thelma Driskell Collection, and New York City?s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.


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