Kathleen Holder

American, born 1954


With her pared-down landscapes that reduce light to a mere presence, Kathleen Holder seeks to strip away excess and reveal a scene’s emotive essence. An out-of-body meditative experience resulted in Holder’s drive to make art that captures unseen energies and forces in what she calls “psychic, abstract landscapes.” Through her layering of pastels and burnishing and blending the colors by hand, Holder’s work assumes a Rothko-esque atmospheric haziness, and a crepuscular style akin to that of James Abbott McNeill Whistler or the work of 19th-century Symbolists. Holder’s “Anamnesis” series of vertically oriented color fields recall landscapes, with little more than a vague horizon line visible, exploring the transformative power of light through the dematerialization of surroundings. Like Rothko’s Chapel paintings, Holder’s landscapes transport viewers to a nameless place marked by a spiritual atmosphere.