Cupid , 2016, graphite and watercolor on moleskin paper

Cupid, 2016, graphite and watercolor on moleskin paper

Tom Holt // Drawn & Quartered

Opening Reception: Thursday July 14, 6 - 9pm
On view: July 14 through August 20
Gallery Hours: Friday – Saturday 11am - 4pm or by appointment.
Eleven Twenty Projects: 1120 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14209

Eleven Twenty Projects presents Tom Holt: Drawn & Quartered, a collection of new work based on the artist’s daily sketch practice. Selections include paintings and drawings, some of which are still intact in sketchbooks. These “visual diaries,” intended as studies and private sketches, are now revealed to the audience to share a deeper insight into the artist’s psyche and emotions.

The main characteristic of Holt’s daily drawing practice is one of proximity. Sketchbooks are to be viewed from an intimate distance, one on one, up close. As the artist says, the drawings are close enough to “whisper to a person.”  By its nature, Holt’s community-oriented large scale work is meant to be viewed from a distance. Looking closer, an inspection of his sketchbooks reveals an extended depth and personal perspective.  Holt feels this more personal tableaux allows him to share less filtered content. Contrived less overtly for the public, the sketchbook drawings are “for me.”

Holt’s sketchbook work is freer and looser than his other practices, however, his deep appreciation and respect for classical presentation, enables him to execute his drawings with precision.  The work is centered, balanced, tight.  He enjoys the juxtaposition of technical mastery with the jagged edges of ripped notebook paper and the occasional off-color subject matter.  Using delicate pencil drawings with light touches of watercolor, he examines the nuances of the human condition, zeroing in on the fears and insecurities shared by us all.

Holt’s work was described by Buffalo News critic Colin Dabkowski as “melancholic without being overbearing, beautiful without sacrificing its strangeness, and elevated by a hint of the juvenile or mischievous.[1]”  Holt frequently draws inspiration from cynical observation of America’s fleeting pop culture vernacular, and is not afraid to take a swipe or two at the inane.  He can look at the darker side of things, and challenge the status quo, but it is always delivered with a sense of class and humility, with a kindness that is informed by a “we are all in this together” approach.

In conjunction with Drawn & Quartered, Eleven Twenty Projects is also pleased to announce a new installation in the front window of the gallery.  For this exhibit, Tom Holt has created a new mural entitled Hemispheres.  Holt simply saw the walls as a blank sheet of sketchbook paper and envisioned the work as an unplanned, large-scale homage to his daily practice.  The mural is a monochromatic offering of bright red on a white background with no planned subject matter.  He mimicked the approach and feel of his sketchbooks, by working in his playful free-form style.  Launched in March of this year, “The Front” is a public exhibition space in the window of the gallery at 1120 Main Street.  Hemispheres will be on display through the end of August.

[1] Colin Dabkowski, "Graffiti graduate; Holt exhibit displays engaging artist with big imagination," Buffalo News, 08/17/2012

Tom Holt is a painter, muralist, and installation artist born in Carmel, NY He received a BS in visual arts at the State University of New York at New Paltz in 2002. Holt’s work ranges in scale from small pencil or ink drawings and mixed media paintings to wall-sized murals. He frequently draws from the visual languages of street art, advertising, cartoons, comic books, anime, and the video game and skateboard culture of his youth. His work has been exhibited at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Castellani Art Museum and Buffalo Arts Studio, and his mural work can be seen on many buildings throughout Buffalo. His work is included in the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and numerous private collections.

Artist website

Installation View

selected works