Profile picture of Holland Houdek

“Hyperbolic (Implants Series III)” – Series Statement

My work focuses on medical devices, the body, and embodied experience. These hand-fabricated objects glorify the highly individual and personal nature of prosthesis and surgeries, while evoking notions of memento mori and the fragile nature of the human form. Using real medical implants and devices acquired through partnerships with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, MedWish International, and Cleveland Clinic as inspiration, I re-invent and exaggerate these devices for imagined bodies and procedures. The intention is for viewers to consider their own physicality and to visualize the absent anatomies implied by the work, and imagine what these devices might do to and for the body.

Historically, memento mori jewelry and objects included black stones, ornate designs, and incorporated bone or hair from the deceased to commemorate their lives and/or remind oneself about the fleeting nature of life. My work updates and extends this expansive body of work by incorporating medical implants (i.e. "modern bones") into innovative, hyperbolic designs that expand upon memento mori's historical aesthetics and to update this concept for the contemporary age. In transforming medical implants as objects of art, I also adapt technical medical terminology to name my pieces while also using real medical devices to aestheticize and transform these objects. The result is a body of work that has allowed me to experiment with this historical jewelry/metalwork genre and invert the idea of adornment by focusing on the inside of the body. In riffing on this age-old genre of memento mori, I embrace the use of traditional metals techniques in my approach while striving for a balance between conceptual depth, technical precision, and aesthetic innovation.

Holland’s work focuses on medical implants, the body, and embodied experience.  Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Arts and Design (MAD) in New York, the Fuller Craft Museum, and many other museums and galleries throughout the world. Her work has been published in Metalsmith MagazineAmerican Craft, two Lark Books’ 500 SeriesOn Body and Soul: Contemporary Armor to Amulets, SNAG’s A Body AdornedContemporary Jewelry in ChinaCAST, and elsewhere. Holland is the recipient of numerous best in show and other competitive awards, and she was a finalist for the inaugural Burke Prize at MAD. She is a former John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry resident, was the 2014-2015 Visiting Artist-in-Residence at the University of Iowa, and has also participated in artist residencies in Morocco and Berlin. Working closely with the medical industry, Holland has formed professional partnerships with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, MedWish International, Cleveland Clinic, and others. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University, BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and is currently an assistant professor and art gallery director at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.

Holland has exhibited throughout the United States and internationally in Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and Taiwan.

For a full CV, see here:
Professional/Academic Appointments

* 2017- , Assistant Professor & Art Galleries Director, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY
* 2015-2017, Visiting Assistant Professor, Jewelry & Metal Arts Department, University of Iowa
* 2012-14, Adjunct Professor, Jewelry & Metalsmithing Department, Syracuse University

2014-2016 Selected Awards, Honors & Achievements
* Award of Excellence, 66th Finger Lakes Exhibition – Memorial Arts Center, Rochester, NY
* Juror’s Choice Award, Hidden Treasure – Delmar Loop Gallery, St. Louis, MO
* Burke Prize Finalist, Museum of Arts and Design
* Honorable Mention, Taiwan International Crafts Exhibition, Gold Museum, Taiwan

* Best in Show, On the Rocks – Lillstreet Gallery, Chicago, IL, 2017

* Janet Indick Sculpture Award, "Women's Works 2017"
* Best in Show, "On the Rocks" – Lillstreet Gallery, Chicago, IL
* Ray & Georgia Gough Grand Juror Award, Materials: Hard & Soft, 2016
* 2016 Niche Awards Winner, Fabricated or Forged
* Best in Show, Craft Forms 2015
* Finalist Award, 2015 Taiwan International Metal Crafts Competition
* 2015 Niche Finalist & 2016 Niche Winner, Fabricated or Forged
* 1st Place "Handcrafted," Maria V. Howard Art Center, Rocky Mount, NC
* Preziosa Young 2015 Finalist
* 1st Place in "Refined VIII: Maker's Choice" (biennial)

Selected Exhibitions

“Beijing Internat’l Jewelry Art Exhibition” – Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, Beijing, China
“In My Opinion” – Gallery of Art, Legnica, Poland
“LIÉ.E.S Art Jewelry Exhibition” – French Institute, Barcelona, Spain
“Wearing Change” – Villa Bengel, Idar-Oberstein, Germany
“Alliages” – Espace Solidor, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France

“LIÉ.E.S Art Jewelry Exhibition” – Gallerie Art’Course, Strasbourg, France

“OBJECTS: USA Redux” – Houston Center For Contemporary Craft, Huston, TX

“[Play]ground” – Vancouver Metal Arts Association, Port Moody Arts Center, BC, Canada
“Gioielli in Fermento” – Galerie La Joaillerie par Mazlo, Paris, France


“The Burke Prize: Future of Craft, Part 2” – Museum of Modern Arts & Design, New York City, NY
“Chaos” – La Galeller, Sevilla and Lalabeyou, Madrid, Spain
“The Body Altered/Adorned” – Baltimore Jewelry Center, Baltimore, MD
“CAST: Art and Objects” – Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
“Craft Forms 2018” – Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
“HERE TODAY: We Are SNAG Series” – SNAG, Online Exhibition
"La Frontera at MAD" – Museum of Modern Art & Design, New York City, NY
"Chaos" – Alliages Gallery, Lille, France
"Chaos" – Munich City Center, Schmuck 2018 Event, Munich, Germany
"Handcrafted" – Maria V. Howard Arts Center, Rocky Mount, NC
"Not Only Decoration" – Cbijoux Sàrl Gallery, Monthey, Switzerland
"Uneasy Beauty: Discomfort in Contemporary Adornment" (invited) – Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
"Not Only Decoration" – alja&friends, Part of Vienna Jewellery Days, Vienna, Austria
"SNAG Early-Career Artists' Exhibition" – Adorned Spaces, SNAG 2017: Nexus, New Orleans, LA
"Craft Forms 2018" – Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
"Exhibition in Print 2017: Repair and Renewal" – Metalsmith Magazine
"2017 Small Works Show" – National Association of Women Artists, INC., New York City, NY
"Handcrafted" – Maria V. Howard Arts Center, Rocky Mount, NC
"The Alliages Legacy Award Exhibition 2016" – JOYA, Barcelona, Spain
"Craft Forms 2016" – Wayne Art Center, Wayne, IN
"Forget Them" (3 works) – Brooklyn Metal Works, Brooklyn, NY
"Unexpected" (2 works) – Craft Council Gallery of BC, Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada
"METALLOphone: Bonds" (international biennial) – (AV17) Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania
"Art from the Heartland" (biennial, two works) – Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, IN
"Materials: Hard & Soft" (2 works) – Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Arts in Denton, TX
"Beijing Intern'l Contemporary Metal & Jewellery Exhibition" – Beijing World Art Museum, Beijing, China
"2015 Taiwan International Metal Crafts Traveling Exhibition" – Gold Museum, New Taipei City, Taiwan
"2015 Taiwan International Metal Crafts Traveling Exhibition" – Wenchuang Plus, Tainan, Taiwan
“2015 Handcrafted” – Maria V. Howard Arts Center, Rocky Mount, NC
“Materials Hard & Soft” – Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, TX
“Shanghai Intern'l Jewelry & Metalsmithing Exhibition” (invited) – Shanghai Exhibition Center, China
“We are SNAG: Identity” – SNAG Online Exhibition
“METALLOphone: Personally” (international biennial, 3 works) – (AV17) Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania
“Resolutely Ambiguous” (2 works) – The Shop @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
“La Frontera” (traveling exhibition) – Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX
“Refined VIII: Maker’s Choice” (biennial, 2 works) – Reavley Gallery, Cole Art Center, Nacogdoches, TX

Recent Residencies
* John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Residency Program, Kohler, WI
* Art Department, University of Iowa (Visiting Scholar & Artist-in-Residence)
* L’a.i.r. de Fez, Batha, Medina of Fez, Morocco
* Picture Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Selected Publications
* Not Only Blah Blah (interview, magazine), Vienna, Austria

* The Jewelry and Metals Survey (a SNAG publication)
* Burke Prize: Future of Craft, Part 2 (catalog)

* American Craft Magazine (special feature)
* CAST: Art and Objects Made Using Humanity's Most Transformational Process
* Taiwan International Crafts Competition (ebook)
* Contemporary Jewelry in China (curated collection)
* On Body and Soul: Contemporary Armor to Amulets, by Susan Ramlijak
* The Body Adorned (a SNAG publication)
* Lark Books: 500 Rings, juried by Bruce Metcalf
* Lark Books: 500 Felt Objects, juried by Susan Brown

Where to Buy

Work is not available for sale through the SNAG website. Please contact the artist directly to inquire about making a purchase.