Prof. David C. Driskell

There are few things left out of Holder's existential inquiry into the nature of our human interactions. This inquiry includes the social nature of our human interactions with the negative forces in life, particularly in the precarious position we find ourselves in when we engage with others who do not see things as we see them. A case in point is the inhumane criminal acts of the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis and other racist organizations who are committed to perpetrating on society. Holder visually exposes their marginal intelligence so often grounded in bigotry and racial hatred, and she moves on. Convincingly, Holder delivers her blows with force and fury which she backs up by an intellectual inquiry into the nature of the human psyche. Most artists I know resist taking on such a strong social and political mission within the limited confines of the visual arts.

In her work, Holder does not entertain the notion of being a safe artist. You can take it or leave it. She abhors standing and creating in the safety zone, even if it implies standing alone. An element of cultural subversion is astutely implanted in the psychology of leading the mind into seeing more than what appears in a given picture. This seems to be one of the personal and individual accomplishments that can be meaningfully ascribed to Holder's art without declaring it all to be social commentary in nature. She is able to mine astutely an abstract approach to painting while allowing certain well-known symbols to play a significant role in showing how she understands the power and nature of form. One subject that occurs from time to time in the artist's oeuvre is the family. It has always been a subject on which the artist relied to help tell her own unusually engaging story. Growing up and living most of her life in New York City provided Holder with an unusually rich experience of becoming a visual artist.

It is equally important to note that Holder utilizes the subject of race in her work, particularly that which is centered on the African American experience, not necessarily as a definition within ethnicity but as a way of defining the broad inclusive concept of the human subject. The universal appeal she makes for us to understand the myriad situations that people of all ethnic and religious persuasions face is a compelling reason for us to revisit Robin Holder's art time and time again in the pursuit of learning more about the majesty and mystery of her personal artistry.