John Holden

The making of drawings, painted images, is an inherent aspect of my experience of living and has been since childhood; not to make visual images of some sort would be an act of denial of an essential need.

Sources of stimuli are complex, environments some familiar, surreptitiously infiltrate the sub-conscious and provide possible departure points. Notation in some form is on going as is the collection of detritus and the use of the camera. The process of distillation, of eliminating what is irrelevant is a continuous struggle. This sensing of what is authentic is a complex process of statement, erasure, restatement and lengthy contemplation. The sensuality of the paint and colour has grown increasingly important as a result of this methodology. In practice this has evolved through the process of underpainting and layering with washes to help achieve optimum colour values, control and interaction. It allows for greater precision / realisation of ideas. The intention is to imbue my work with a simple authority and beauty that is refreshingly unexpected and at the same time seems familiar.

Paul Klee’s statement, “Art does not portray the visible, it makes things visible” is a wonderful succinct creative maxim.

John Holden (b 1942) studied at Medway College of Art & Design (1959-63) and the Royal Academy Schools London (1963-66). He was awarded a sabbatical from John Moores University (1998). Solo shows include ‘ The Liverpool Years’ Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax (1996), Liverpool University Senate House (1997), Bury Art Gallery (1997). Group exhibitions include John Moores, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (1995), Hunting Prizes, London (1996, 98, 99, 2001, 03, 04), Jerwood Drawing Open & Tour 2004/5. Recent shows, John Holden and Paul Mason at Fermyn Woods Contempory Art (2004) and John Holden at the Redbrick Mill, Batley (2004), Discerning Eye, invited 2005; Royal West of England Academy Open Painting (2005); Chichester Painting Open (2005).

John Holden’s work is held in public and private collections worldwide. He retired as Head of Fine Art at John Moores University in July 2000.