Holt Quentel

Holt Quentel


Holt Quentel, a reclusive artist who emerged in New York’s 1980s art scene, left a lasting impact with her theory-driven, postmodern works before withdrawing from the art world in the 1990s. Her art, characterized by distressed canvases featuring bold geometric shapes and motifs, echoes the giants of modernism while incorporating themes of Western traditions and political spaces in the U.S. Quentel’s process involved cutting, stitching, and artificially ageing her canvases, creating pieces that appear as worn-out artefacts or battle flags, rich in both aesthetic and philosophical significance.

Quentel’s oeuvre draws on the styles and gestures of artists like Jackson Pollock, Frank Stella, and Jasper Johns, with strong ties to Arte Povera influences such as Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana. Her work, exemplified by pieces like “Untitled” (1987), critiques American gun culture and intertwines with theories from Derrida, Marx, Heidegger, Baudrillard, and Cixous. By materializing external theories into her art, Quentel engaged with and challenged traditional art systems, making her creations significant for their visual impact and intellectual depth.

This large spiral-bound publication utilizes screen printing techniques on rough, industrial-feeling papers with contrasting surfaces, reflecting Holt’s practice. The typography, characterized by its bold simplicity, evokes the aesthetic of Arte Povera and subtly references the industrial machinery integral to her work.

Contributors: Text by Terry R. Myers