Holly Keogh

Holly Keogh
Professional Artist, Curator

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art, Painting Concentration, UNC Charlotte (2014)

Bachelor of Arts in Art History, UNC Charlotte (2014)

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

Artist Holly Keogh is a local visual artist in Charlotte. She exhibits, curates, and assists  in multiple public art projects. Among her recent projects, Holly curated a show locally at Goodyear Arts, entitled It Blooms At Night, and exhibited bodies of work in New York City as part of the internationally recognized SPRING/BREAK art show.  

Not long after graduating from UNC Charlotte in 2014, Holly became a founding member of the Goodyear Artist Collective and was its first artist-in-residence. Other residencies have followed: In 2019, she won a “People's Choice Award” while at the Pienkow Artist Residency in Chelm, Poland. The following year, she was an artist-in-residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte.   

painting by Holly Keogh - hand cutting a cakeHolly’s work stems from her interest in memory and the human desire to document or freeze time - often with a camera. Throughout her childhood, her family would receive photographs from extended family in Britain. “These photographs depict cousin’s birthdays I never attended or new homes I never stepped inside,” her artist statement explains. “I examine the familiar faces in these images in vain; I can’t bring them any closer, I can’t reconstruct the original moments in time.” The photos become the basis for her paintings, which blend elements of the artifacts with her own remembrances and imaginings. “Psychologically charged portraits emerge from tension between my will to remember and my power to project.” 

While a student at UNC Charlotte, Holly studied abroad for a year at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and while her concentration there and at Charlotte was painting, she took advantage of opportunities in the Department of Art & Art History to broaden her skills. She did an independent study in printmaking, for example, (“I loved learning new techniques and incorporating them into paintings and collages,” she says) and added an art history major, which taught the importance of “connecting my practice to a larger contemporary dialogue.”

Holly ranks the senior BFA exhibition as one of the highlights of her education. “I learned so much about how to finish and install work,” she says. “It was also the first time I got to see people other than friends and family experiencing the work.” 

To this day, Holly remains connected to many of the professors she studied with at UNC Charlotte. “They have been a source of information and guidance with many of the decisions and projects I have worked on.”

Holly offers a few pieces of advice for current and future visual artists: “Don't be afraid to disconnect; go looking in places other than the Internet for inspiration. Defend your time to make work. Try a lot of new things, make a lot of work and don't be too precious with it.”

Holly is represented by SOCO Gallery in Charlotte. To learn more about her work and see examples, visit her website.

painting by Holly Keogh - two people in a boat"Extinct Love," by Holly Keogh. Above, right, "Not to put too fine a point on it."