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Gillian Holding/ARTIST INFO

In my most recent paintings, juxtaposed strangely positioned figures, objects and animals haunt the canvases. The figures emerge invariably as female forms, constrained or restrained, balancing, poised momentarily on a threshold or awkwardly reaching out to or clasping something. But they are not without power or agency as they grasp, search, and resist, seeking a way through. The liminal spaces are ambiguous and obscure. Often the poses are impossible, despite being superficially convincing. 


They are worked in oil with strong colour, although each painting is worked with a limited colour palette. Some compositions are informed by sketchbook drawing and small studies. Others have emerged from the suggestions generated by an intuitive placing of shapes and brushmarks. 


The presence of the unexpected in the imagery invites us to consider the surreal contradictions that characterise today’s world. We are living in a post truth society, hypnotised and paralysed. Each day sees a new set of conflicting facts and interactions, adding to our uncertainty. Our lived experiences of the familiar everyday often seem at odds with the packaged alternative reality mediated by omnipresent social and mainstream media in a digital world. The inescapable sense of dissonance that results when confronted by mediated “reality” increases feelings of alienation, helplessness, fragility and entrapment. 


My experience of this lies at the heart of my work. The disruptive, disjunctive processes I use are as important as the resulting final ambiguous imagery of forms lost and trapped in their surroundings.


Art Education and awards

2009 Leeds Metropolitan University BA FineArt (First Class Honours)

2009 Historical & Critical Studies Prize, Leeds Metropolitan University

2000-2005 Open College of the Arts Painting Levels 1-3, all awarded A grade


Solo exhibitions/projects

2021 Lockdown Product, Artifact Gallery New York

2018 Anamnesis, East Street Arts, Leeds

2016  Holy Land (reprise) Espacio Gallery, London

2016 Kanzleraltar, Left Bank Gallery, Leeds

2016 Fatal Intersections, Opposite Gallery, Leeds

2015 The Holy Land (reprise) Artifact Gallery, Orchard Street, New York

2014 Space Unfolding, Espacio Gallery, London (cur. with Junko ONeill)

2013 The Holy Land (a 21st century travelogue), Oasis School of Human Relations, Tadcaster

2013 Edgelands of Leeds II, Devoted To Gallery, Redbrick Mill, Batley

2013 Edgelands of Leeds I, Reliance Bar Gallery, Leeds, cur. East Street Arts

2012 Westbourne Grove: A Portrait of Everyday, Debut Contemporary Gallery, London

2011 Same Difference (Reprise) Etz Chaim Gallery, London

2011 Action | Reaction G2 Gallery, Solihull

2010 Same Difference, South Square, Bradford

2008 Hubris and the City, Fine Art Gallery, Leeds Metropolitan University


Selective/curated Group Exhibitions

2022 Leeds Summer Group Show, Leeds Playhouse

2019 Leeds Art Prize 2019, Left Bank Leeds

2018 Earth, Kunsthuis , North Yorks

2017 Draw, Thought Foundation, Gateshead

2017 World Turned Upside Down, Leeds

2016 Jerusalem, St Edmunds Church, Leeds

2015 Stations of the Cross, St Edmunds Church, Leeds

2014 Same But Different, Leeds cur. The Bowery

2014 The Other Art Fair, London

2013 Clowning Around (video projection) collab. with Addictive Media, Leeds Light Night

2013 Art Vend, Woolgather Art Project, Leeds

2013 Art Cloud 1, Festival of Contemporary Visions, Florence

2013 A Retrospective of Jewish Art, Etz Chaim, Leeds

2013 Art of Angel, Candid Arts, London

2012 The Other Art Fair, London

2012 Olympics Touring Exhibition, cur. Sara Raza

2012 Shift, Hundred Years Gallery, Hoxton, London E2, cur.Ana Papoola

2012 Dead of Night, Leeds Light Night

2012 Failure ,Hundred Years Gallery, Hoxton, London E2, cur.Ana Papoola

2012 Whitecross St Festival, Maison Twenty, London EC2, cur. Danielle Hodson

2012 Regents Canal Festival, TheArt Pavilion Mile End, London E3, cur. Maria Teresa Gargozo

2011 Headingley Arts Trail, The Bowery, Leeds

2011 On The Edge Arts Festival, Temple Works, Leeds

2011 Copy/Paste, Harehills Business Centre, Leeds

2010 Melange, Leeds Light Night cur, Moira Innes

2010 South Square Salon, South Square Gallery, Bradford




2017 Project Space Artist-in-Residence, East Street Arts, Leeds UK

2017 Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida, USA

2016 Left Bank Arts Council England residency, Leeds UK




2014 International Contemporary Masters Volume 9

2013 International Contemporary Masters Volume 8

2012 Olympics Touring Exhibition catalogue, ed. Sara Raza

2011 Through the Veil of Orientalism (ed. Disegnodiverso, Italy)

2011 The Candle Building (A Visual Gazetteer)Artists' book project by Waymarking, Leeds

2010-present Art and Life blog




Work held in numerous private collections across UK, France, Italy and the US, and in a number of institutions in Leeds available to public view.

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