MAURA HOLDEN ARTISTS BIOGRAPHY
Maura Holden was born in 1967 in Philadelphia PA. She spent most of her childhood absorbed in a multi-dimensional daydream, which formed the foundation of her visionary quest as it continues today. Dreaming, drawing and water-coloring continually throughout her youth, Maura was able to present her first solo show at age sixteen, in the family home, with a large body of detailed paintings and drawings of inner landscapes populated by spirits and supernatural beings.
Though Maura’s very early work was definitely fantastic – heavily influenced by Max Ernst, Dali, and her own mystical dreams – she did not anticipate the full flowering of her visionary kinship until seeing the art of Ernst Fuchs. This profound event occurred when she was twenty-four, at a party, where someone handed her a book of Fuchs’ art. From the moment she held the book, Maura has been a devoted fan, strongly influenced by Fuchs and his lineage.
Maura has never had formal painting instruction, but has pieced together her own education from a combination of book research, experiments with art materials and techniques, looking at other artists’ work, and a lot of time at the easel.
In 2002 Maura had her first solo gallery show, “Carnivorous Architecture”, at Gallery in the Woods in Brattleboro, Vermont. The show brought Maura a small flurry of recognition, leading soon afterwards to a year-long group show, “High
on Life”, at the American Visionary Art Museum, followed the next year by another, “Golden Blessings” at the same museum. Her contribution of five paintings to the first of these shows brought many new friends and connections, and Tom Patterson, the curator of “High on Life”, later went on to write a feature article about Maura and her work for Raw Vision Magazine, issue 56, Autumn 2006.
Maura’s involvement with AVAM and Raw Vision linked her to the Outsider Art movement, which encompasses Art Brut and all self-taught artists.
In 2003 Maura participated in the Society for Art of the Imagination’s “Brave Destiny” show, at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Society, again re-enforcing her emphasis on the fantastic.
After this show, it would be three years before Maura unfolded further into the public sphere. In 2003, she embarked on an experiment in consciousness, repairing to a hermit’s cabin in rural Vermont, beginning a new shamanic nature-oriented phase, and a new body of work….
For three years, she remained in the cabin, without running water, electricity or the media. Secluded in the forest, she experienced a suspension of time and ordinary perception, and rediscovered, through astral journeys, what she came to think of as the archaic human mindset, brimming with myth, magic and archetypes…
This period constituted a death and re-birth. Maura welcomed the breakdown of the older structures of her world-view, and passed from her own version of 20th century consciousness into a more basic or universal human consciousness. She asserts that she lost her identity during this time, and merged with the forest’s myriad woven sound and sentience… A sense of “becoming nobody” allowed her to release outworn thoughts and begin fumblingly to manifest a new kind of vision. The realms of Earth-aliens, faeries and the geometry of plants and minerals began to replace the ruinous anthropomorphic cities of her earlier period. A new outlook began to take root. With the tremendous inflow of energy and novelty this process unleashed, Maura began, but did not finish, roughly fifteen paintings, ranging from the epic and arduous to the simple but
characteristically delicate and time-consuming…
In 2006 she left the cabin and built an amateur website for her art. The publisher Jon Beinart soon discovered the website, and included her work in “Metamorphosis – 50 Contemporary Surreal, Fantastic and Visionary Artists”, her first compilation book. From there, other online and magazine publications also contacted her, and she discovered her love of books and publishing…
Around 2007 Maura became pen pals with Laurence Caruana, at first corresponding with him mainly about philosophical, spiritual and aesthetic ideas. Their friendship became more personal over time, eventually leading Maura to participate directly in the Visionary Art community. In 2011 she joined Laurence, Amanda Sage and Andrew Gonzales in teaching the “Visions in the Mischtechnik” seminar, in Tori Superiore, Italy, where she lead a drawing intensive. She will return to Tori Superiore to teach painting at the seminar in 2012.
MAURA HOLDEN on Fantastic Visions
Ben Ridgway is currently an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California, USA. He has 15 years of professional experience as both a 3D artist in the video game industry and as a Professor. While in the games industry he helped to create games for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft console systems. Ben has been making experimental animations since 1992.
“My abstract animations investigate the metaphysical features of reality. They are designed to stimulate archetypal associations and invite the viewer to make personal connections to the visual and auditory experience without any reliance on narrative or spoken language.”
With stunning cinematography (and no CGI), director Oscar Hudson pays homage to Japan’s social phenomenon of ‘Hikikomori’.
A dreamy, disconnected electronic beat plays as a Japanese teenager wakes up in his bedroom, visibly troubled at the thought of facing the day ahead of him. But there are tricks at play, as he walks through the door, only to find a replica of his bedroom ahead, and of him too, staring into the mirror. And then there is another, and another, till we see a series of bedrooms and the boy in it – only the room appears to be becoming smaller and more crowded as the boy gets bigger.
This linking of the psychological and the physical space plays as the perfect foil to British music producer Bonobo’s inspired number No Reason. Director Oscar Hudson mines the Japanese phenomenon of Hikikomori – when young people find themselves overwhelmed and end up as housebound recluses. According to the government, the number of hikikomori between the ages of 15 to 30 in Japan in 2015 numbered some 540,000.
The cinematography No Reason is inspired by the 2014 Oscar-winner Birdman. The vocals by Nick Murphy (also known as Chet Faker) contribute to the dream-like sequence and the feeling of overwhelming monotony. “We achieved the film using only in-camera physical effects and we designed an entirely new way of moving our miniature camera to get it to fit through the tiny doorways. Doing this film with CGI would have been a thousand times easier, but for me, it’s physicality and imperfections are what make it different, and, I hope better,” said Hudson.
Miles Johnston works primarily in pencil drawing. His surreal art explores psychological transformation in portraits and figurative images.
Captivating. Mindbending. Recursive. Face melting. Gorgeous.
Johnston’s art is our psyche staring back from the void. Beyond the threshold of strange changes; he illustrates not a calculus infinite worlds, but the infinite selves it is possible to become.
Deform. Divide. Attract. Recur.
Each picture below is a story of transformation the subject is undergoing.
Pencil Drawing Timelapse by Miles Johnston
Miles Johnston is a lover of pencils & Instructor at SARA.