George Holt Archive
My method of working is based on the belief that intuition and spontaneity produce better results for me than careful planning and execution. Usually it involves composing directly on the ‘canvas’ and constantly reacting to what has previously happened in the work for stimulation to further activity. If things go well, a synthesis of abstract elements in aesthetic equilibrium results , which equates to the dynamic or reposeful feelings that have been experienced whilst working.
George Holt’s Life
George Holt was born in Salford on Christmas Day 1924. When he was six the family moved to Wolverhampton. He attended elementary school in Wolverhampton and St Joseph’s Senior Boys School until December 1938 when he went to work at Boulton and Paul Aircraft Company Ltd., Wolverhampton initially as ‘gate boy’. It was here, from 1940 to 1945 that he did a five-year aircraft apprenticeship and trained as a draftsman. Between the years 1945 and 1959, he worked in the design offices of various companies, including de Havilland Propellor Co. in Hatfield, Helliwells Ltd. in Birmingham and Marston Excelsior Ltd., Wolverhampton, eventually leaving his post as Assistant Section Leader to become a lecturer in September 1959 at what was then the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire Technical College, later to become Wolverhampton Polytechnic and then University. In September 1983, he took early redundancy from his Senior Lectureship post and devoted himself full-time to his art work.
George Holt was largely self-taught as an artist but a glance at the notes he made about his art experience shows that he attended evening classes in art for many years from 1948 to 1971 and was tutored by numerous people including Harry Turner and latterly Christopher Bourne under whose tutelage he flourished. From 1971 to 1982 he taught art classes at Codsall Evening Institute taking over from Christopher Bourne. To widen his experience, from 1983 to 1985, he attended pottery classes at the Adult Centre, Wolverhampton before going on to complete an Access Course in Art Studies at Bilston Community College. In 1986, George became a member of the Eagle Works Artists Group in Wolverhampton where he had a studio until April 2005. George was also a member of the Birmingham Art Trust.
George was a prolific artist. His artist’s statement reflects his open-minded and experimental attitude to art: “My method of working is based on the belief that intuition and spontaneity produce better results for me than planning and careful execution.” He worked in many media and was never happier than when he was in his studio. His work is in the public collection of Wolverhampton Art Gallery where he ran various workshops in 1988. He had a great interest in child development and art and gave talks at various venues on this subject. In 1990 he did a stint as Artist in Residence at Bolton Royal Junior and Infants School, Leeds. He was influenced by many artists but none more so than Terry Frost, of the St Ives School, whose work he collected. He would spend several weeks each spring in St Ives visiting the various galleries and studios there and drawing inspiration from the landscape.
In February 2005, George was diagnosed with terminal cancer but he continued to put together work for what was to be his final exhibition, an exhibition of black and white monoprints at the Eagle Works Gallery, Wolverhampton. This exhibition was opened by Brendan Flynn, the then Keeper of Modern Art at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, who paid tribute to George’s dedication to a life in art and his prolific output. Unfortunately, George was too ill to attend the opening of the exhibition on Friday 8th April 2005. Two days later, George passed away in Compton Hospice, Wolverhampton.
In the summer of 2005, Eagle Works artists put on a Group Show called “Is it Real?”, curated and selected by Brendan Flynn. The show was dedicated to the memory of George Holt (1924-2005).
“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.” Martha Graham
Exhibition Opening of art works by George Holt (1924-2005).
Curators: Martin Green, Melissa Morris and Marcin Sz
All welcome to join us as we celebrate the dynamic and prolific work of George Holt.
This carefully curated archive exhibition serves to allow such moments of movement from the past, to transcend time, to be noticed and to energise the present.
We are delighted to make this exhibition at #CCCA, FarGo Village Coventrywith gracious permission from Jane Holt and immense support fromChristine Eade and Martin Green from The Pod - Coventry.