Leslie Holt

Do or Do Not
oil on canvas
10 x 8 in.

Hello Bride
oil on masonite
6 x 4 in.

Recently I have created several series of paintings that are references to childhood memories. In many of the pieces I am interested in conflating a sense of a directly observed, present day scene, with an artificial narrative inspired by childhood memories of growing up with a mentally ill family member. In the paintings “Do or Do Not” and “Hello Bride”, I chose popular icons from my childhood and juxtaposed them with Prozac, a current pop icon. There is a disjuncture between the exterior candy like packaging of these pills and the gravity of their internal purpose in the body.

Mental illness is often referred to as an invisible disability. While much of the stigma and shock surrounding mental illness has dissipated in the last twenty years, it is still not discussed as openly as many physical diseases. I believe in the power of images to contribute to the breaking of silence and shame. While I hope many kinds of audiences will appreciate this body of work, I enjoy privileging an audience who identifies with the images in a personal and direct way.

© Leslie Holt