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2022 Associate Online Show Grand Prize Winner Holly Lane's Upcoming Museum Show Opens August 2, 2024

At first glance, it might look like Holly Lane’s acrylic paintings are set into a vintage, decorative wooden cabinet or a section of an antique piece of furniture. However, the painting is actually surrounded by a sculpture, an elaborate frame designed and hand-carved by Lane, which is part of a unified presentation of her artwork, where frame and painting interact and complement each other.

This represents an aesthetic innovation pursued by Lane, where the concept of a frame is part of her artistry, rather than just a utilitarian structure that mounts a painting to a wall.

I interviewed Holly in April 2024 as she was preparing for a one-woman exhibit of her work (“Not Enough Time to Love the World”) at the New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU), Los Gatos, CA, which will open on August 2, 2024 and runs through January 26, 2025. She was the 2022 Grand Prize Winner of Allied Artists’ Associate Online Show.

Holly said the NUMU exhibit will have 25 to 30 pieces and will be a survey of her artwork, from 2010 to the present day. The title of the show reflects a “meditation on the brevity of life, the fabric of time, and a reverence for nature.”

Self-taught as a wood carver, Holly became inspired years ago in a beginning painting class, when the professor told the students to think about a frame, or no frame, for their work. Having had two years as a philosophy major and reading Jacques Derrida’s concept of “frames of mind,” where often an unconscious conceptual frame pre-conditions the understanding what is at the center. Holly considers the frame as in dialog with the painting.

In a statement on her website (, she wrote that “while an undergraduate in painting I began to think about frames. At that time, if a painting had a frame at all, it was a thin line, serving as protection for the art, and as conceptual dividing line. The frame was a demarcation that indicated that all that was within was art and all that was outside the frame was not art. A good frame was to be inconspicuous.”

She then took note of ancient illuminated manuscripts and saw how the borders of pages “visually commented on the text, sometimes even spoofing the text. From this discovery I realized that a frame could be many things; it could be a commentary, an informing context, an environment, a fanfare, a shelter, it could extent movement, it could be a conceptual or formal elaboration, it could embody ancillary ideas, it could be like a body that houses and expresses the mind, and many other rich permutations. From that point I began to create pieces that fused frame and painting, with some pieces having doors that open and close over paintings to suggest; contingency, potentiality, future, past, or cause and effect.”

Kiln-dried basswood is the material she uses for designing and carving her frames. “Basswood (part of the Linden family of trees) has an even grain, creamy texture and is very stable. It doesn’t crack or warp, like some hard-wood trees, like maple.” She achieves the deep sepia/umber tones through multiple coats of oil stains. The painting, acrylic on panel, is inserted into the frame. Holly’s subject matter often includes animals and nature scenes.

Born in Ohio, her family moved to California when she was in the third grade. She resides in Merced, California, and spent many summers in Montana. Holly received her Masters of Fine Art degree at San Jose State University in 1988.

According to a press statement by the NUMU museum, Holly “has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions throughout California, New York City, and across the United States, and since the early 1980s. She is the recipient of a 2012-13 Pollock-Krasner Artist Grant. Her work has been reproduced in over fifty publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and the art history textbook “Artist and Audience” by Terence Grieder. Her work is held in more than 90 private and public collections.

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