Lonnie Holley

Lonnie Holley, Working to Keep the Motor Running, 2008, Wood, spray paint, found metal, wire, stone, 41 x 29 x 11 inches

Lonnie Holley: Stepping in the Footprint
April 18 – June 15, 2013

Institute 193 is pleased to present Stepping in the Footprint, an exhibition of work by the Atlanta-based artist, Lonnie Holley. The exhibition includes a series of new paintings and sculptural assemblages that reflect Holley’s personal philosophies regarding race and cultural identity in the context of the natural and the built environment. This is Holley’s first exhibition in Kentucky.

Holley’s art practice is diverse, but he is best known for richly symbolic assemblages of found objects that examine spirituality, African-American history, and the interconnectedness of all things. The three-dimensional work in this exhibition demonstrates Holley’s talent for creating powerful visual narratives with sculptural forms, and his ability to imbue prosaic objects with profound meaning.

The work in this exhibition ranges from the deeply personal to the conceptually abstract. One small sculpture pays homage to a nurse who cared for Holley after a childhood accident, while another mourns Pluto’s demotion from “planet” to “dwarf planet” in 2006.

Stepping In the Footprint also features a new series of paintings on paper and cloth. Holley arranges and rearranges found objects on the surface of the paper and applies spray paint, creating layered compositions with the outlines left behind. This is a new technique for the artist, who has begun to explore the properties of his materials in negative space rather than solely in three-dimensional arrangements.

This exhibition was funded in part by an Eco Arts grant from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works. The exhibition is presented in cooperation with the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta, GA.


Lonnie Holley, Steps of the Trade Center in the Act of Deterioration, 2007, wood, found metal, wire, 19 x 18 x 10 inches.

Lonnie Holley, That Dam Rock or that Rock, Which One Holds the Power for You?, 2007, Found stones, found metal, wire, wood, 28 x 9 x 11 inches 


Lonnie Holley, Hiding My Roots, 2011, spray paint on paper, 17 x 14 inches


Lonnie Holley, 2011, spray paint on paper, 17 x 14 inches    

Installation view

About the artist:

Born in Birmingham, AL in 1950, Lonnie Holley’s work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian American Museum of Art (Washington, DC), the American Folk Art Museum (New York, NY), the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. His debut album Just Before Music was released in 2012 by the Grammy-winning label Dust-to-Digital.