Joseph Holston, born in 1944, is a nationally recognized artist based in Takoma Park, Maryland. His career as a full-time studio artist began in 1972, following eight years as a commercial artist while studying, developing and refining his skills as a painter and printmaker. He has enjoyed much critical success in the ensuing 40 years.
Works by Holston are included in the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Library of Congress Fine Print Collection; the Yale University Art Gallery; the Butler Institute of American Art; the U. S. Federal Reserve Fine Art Collection; the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design; the Amarillo Museum of Art, Texas; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; the Washington County Museum of Fine Art, Maryland; the University of Maryland University College; the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland; the Lyndon B. Johnson Library at the University of Texas; and Howard University. Holston’s work has been exhibited in many of these same museums and venues.
His visual narrative “Color in Freedom: Journey along the Underground Railroad,” consisting of 50 paintings, etchings and drawings, has been on tour since 2008. It was presented in 2010 at the United Nations Mission in Geneva, Switzerland, under the sponsorship of the U. S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. The eighteen etchings from “Color in Freedom” are included in the collection of the Library of Congress. In 2011, Holston created the painting “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” to commemorate the dedication of the Martin Luther King National Memorial in Washington, D.C. The screen print created from this painting has been added to the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and the Federal Reserve Board. Holston has created special commissions for several organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the National Medical Association, and North Carolina A&T State University.
Holston is one of the artists included in the traveling exhibition “African American Art since 1950,” organized by the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Art and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, at the University of Maryland.
“[Holston] has taken the best of everything he’s done before and run with it. With each composition there is a sense of organized structure, balanced line and compartmentalized color. He is totally in control and still allows for viewer interpretation. The non-objective work reveals his mature development of both form and color and how both relate to the composition. These new paintings are a remarkable progression of [Holston]‘s work.” —Barbara Stephanic, Ph.D., author Joseph Holston: Color in Freedom—Journey along the Underground Railroad; Professor Emeritus, The College of Southern Maryland (2013)
“His work celebrates life in all its phases. And while one can see influences of European and modern masters in Holston’s oeuvre, his art is wholly autographic. In other words, when one sees a Holston one knows it’s a Holston.”—Lisa Hodermarsky, The Sutphin Family Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT (2011)
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