I’ve developed a body of paintings for my exhibition ‘Copper Snakes’. It’s currently on view at Artspace at Untitled. Kees Holterman (previously featured here). In 2022 Holterman was confronted with a congenital heart defect diagnosis, limiting his ability to meet the physical demands of his printmaking practice. This limitation created the space for reflection, contemplation, and appreciation – during his residency, he looked deeper into his Social Realist and American Folk Art influences, personal memories, culture, and spirituality.
Holterman, a renowned printmaker, developed and augmented his artistic talents during this time, creating his first body of paintings. He begins as if he is making a print, laying down graphic shapes, bold colors, and his signature character profiles on small pieces of paper. As the artworks develop, the characters take on a unique form, each with its own story and personality. The exhibition reads like a storybook – the characters exploring memories that emphasize transformation, repair, and renewal in everyday lived experiences. The Copper or Bronze Snake symbol, for which the exhibit is inspired, comes from the biblical passage Numbers 21:4-9 – a story of vulnerability, healing, and treatment; the confrontation of fear and uncertainty; and the journey toward bravery.