Fermi National Laboratory

Current Works

Cheryl Holz

I grew up in the country. As a child, I roamed the woods and fields collecting moss, bugs, leaves, and to my mother's chagrin, snakes and salamanders. I still collect all kinds of things, including butterfly wings, overdue notices, leaves, labels, eggshells, stamps, and kelp. These collections have found their place in my work.

That early fascination with nature has led me to investigate natural forms as well as human designs and marks; the connections between nature's patterns and those in our own lives continue to fascinate me and invigorate my art. As Diane Ackerman observes in the foreward to The Design of Nature:

We confront patterns in our daily events, actions and objects.
Our conversations meander like rivers.
Junk-mail dunes on cluttered desks.
Families branch.
Music curves, spirals and flows.

The symbolic implications of the methods and materials I use in my work are as important as the concepts and forms. I might build up and then wear away a surface, exposing underlying images, or I might accrete images in layers. As the layers accumulate or disintegrate, erosion and deterioration mark them just as weather and time mark nature.

What lies beneath always relates to and connects with what lies above, unifying the work. I seek a textured surface that combines natural marks, artifacts, signs, tracks, wings, shells, leaves-with such human creations as language, diagrams, calligraphic marks, technical or poetic texts, and song lyrics. Much of the writing is deliberately illegible; it suggests the idea of writing as a sign of human activity, rather than as a signifier, to use a semiotic term.

Spontaneity is integral to my work. In joining the free and spontaneous to the thoughtful and rational, I seek a sensuous surface that also offers meaning, that satisfies intellectually as well as aesthetically.

Click thumbnails for larger images

Eastern InfluenceGiven GoldKeeping TimeLeonas Beetle

Lurching ForwardPersistent TurtleThinkTracks Ferns Fossils

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