David Valentine Holmes (1945 - 2014)

Birth date: 11/27/1945 Death date: 12/27/2014  
Birth location: Newark, New York Death location: Racine, Wisconsin  
Media: Assemblages , Installation , Mural , Painting , Sculpture Web site: http://homepages.uwp.edu/holmes/ToolsSub_portfolio.html
Fair (file rating) - MWA artist file may include basic data, and additional newspaper articles, book references, exhibition information, and images that can be researched on site at MWA.


David V. Holmes
Born 1945 in Newark, New York
David Valentine Holmes was born in 1945 in the small town of Newark, near Rochester, New York. He became interested in art when he was quite young, and teachers, family and friends recognized his ability and predicted that art would become his career. After graduating from Newark Central High School, he went to the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia where he graduated Cum Laude.

For the next few years he taught children with cognitive disabilities at an institute in upstate New York. Then he moved to Wisconsin where he began work on his MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to work as a resident artist, spending the year dedicated to the completion of an environment of paintings and wooden pinball machines entitled “The Greater Christian Carnival.”

In 1974, Holmes joined the art faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, in Kenosha, Wisconsin as an assistant professor of painting, drawing and design. He advanced to full professor in 1977 and served as Chair of the Art Department in 1978-80, 1988-90 and 1998-2006.  Holmes has won awards for his research as well as his teaching.

Holmes’ work is created from an eclectic collection of exotic woods, technological cast-offs and bits of junk, which are crafted into delightful sculptures. He says, "I was trained as a painter but moved into sculptural forms to expand my creative possibilities. I have always felt the concept comes first and then you seek the media to articulate that idea. Therefore, I am a painter- sculptor who loves to draw and does an occasional print. My themes are always based on differing social issues. I want my art to speak to many levels of society and have developed a style that is confrontational yet whimsical. I don't feel art should preach but cajole the viewer into seeing issues in a new light."

Over the years Holmes has made a number of works that are meant to be seen as self-contained settings. “The Alchemic Emporium” had a national tour from 1990 to 1996 and more recently “The Mystical Mechanical Menagerie” has been on display at nine museums or universities since 2000. His latest work is a series of small whimsical robotic characters with the working title of “Sins of My Old Age.”

As a diversion from his more formal art and academic pursuits, David Holmes has created numerous murals for schools and churches since his residency as artist for the Madison (Wisconsin) Public Schools in the 1970’s.  These murals which are highly illustrative, colorful and always filled with humor, have become a way for the artist to directly give back to his community.

Holmes work has been shown at the Smithsonian Institute, Art Institute of Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, American Craft Museum, Indianapolis Art Center, Arkansas Art Center, Northwestern University, Indiana State University, Museum of Wisconsin Art, and almost all of the University of Wisconsin campuses.
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