Holly Berger Markhoff
5 Things You Didn't Know About Holly Markhoff:
1. Holly has a twin brother named Hal. ( Holly & Hal! )
2. She met her husband of almost 31 years, while she was a waitress at the 3rd Street Diner in Richmond, Va.
3. Holly grew up in a creative home, accompanying her mother, a writer, to interviews with psychics, politicians, puppeteers, and more! Her father, an engineer, painted and had a small kiln in their home, encouraging pottery making, painting, and the practice of all kinds of math problems!
4. Holly enjoys experimenting with a variety of traditional and unusual mixed media in her paintings. Predominantly using Matisse acrylics imported from Australia, she has added the brilliant, colorful red juice of beets to gel mediums, sprayed high gloss paints through lace to leave patterns, and built up texture with thick layers of latex house paints!
5. When looking for creative inspiration, Holly is drawn toward the calm of waves on a quiet beach, the energy of an art museum, or the eclectic aisles of a used bookstore!
CAC Artist Interview:
Although Holly Markhoff grew up in a family that expressed themselves artistically, it took a while for her to become a professional artist “My mother was a professional writer, and I always saw that the arts were something that you loved and did, but that they could be difficult as a career,” she says. She majored in psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, became a mental health counselor, taught Judaic studies and pre-school before recognizing she could be a professional artist. A seed was planted when her now husband invited her to Arts Around the Lake (a defunct art show that was held annually at University of Richmond) for their first date. While walking around looking at the exhibits, Markhoff was inspired. She says, “I thought, ‘One day I’m going to be here.’ ”
Over a decade later, painting, and taking a variety of art courses all the while, Markhoff was deciding between going back to graduate school in the mental health field or applying to a university art school. Excited about the thought of immersing herself in fine arts, she applied for a space at the same Arts Around the Lake art show that she and her husband had attended years ago on that first date. She was accepted and sold almost all of the paintings she exhibited there. Encouraged, she started applying to other shows and to CAC. “Getting into Crossroads was a huge confidence booster for me,” she says.
When asked about the appeal of her pieces to viewers, Markhoff explains, “I try to be joyful in my painting. I know that there is a place in the art world for emotional or political paintings, but I want my paintings to be thought-provoking in a positive way. The subjects are connecting with something that will uplift the viewer. I want the painting to provoke a positive experience.”
Outside of painting Markhoff has a passion for old books, particularly with the theme of sociology and women studies. “I like books from the pre-1900’s and early 1900’s about women, and different groups, and their place in society,” she says. “I am really interested in how we [as a society] continue to evolve and how many of us look at the world so differently.”
Perhaps the evolution she appreciates in her books mirrors the evolution she has experienced with her art- growing from decorative to positively powerful.
HOLLY BERGER MARKHOFF is a contemporary mixed media artist. As Holly works, she moves canvases around her studio, soaking in the balance, design, and movement from various perspectives, until each hue, line or texture seems to have purpose. Her painting style has evolved to incorporate sculptural elements and a variety of mixed media.
Paintings can be spontaneous and simply directed by the materials used. More often the pieces continue the process of completing the expression of a recurrent sketch or theme. An exciting variety of mediums and techniques are used on each piece. Often acrylic, enamel, and even house paints are layered between acrylic gloss and combined with beautifully colored and textured papers and fabrics. At times a heating element is used to seal and texturize the paint. Holly’s artistic goal is to create works that are soothing and sophisticated, yet express an inspiring playfulness and joy.
Born in New York City, Holly grew up outside of Washington DC, in Alexandria, Virginia. She currently lives in Richmond with her husband and two young adult children. She has a studio in her home and in the city's Museum District. Holly’s work can be seen in corporate collections throughout the state of Virginia and in private collections nationally and internationally.
"Through silent reflection, we find the connections and relationships that transform the everyday into something golden and spectacular. With hints of gold, my recent work embraces this transformation, celebrating the delicate joys, that once discovered are brimming and ready to burst, fragile and transient.” — Holly Markhoff