Robert John Holland

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Robert John Holland (American, 1945-) Western New York artist, painter, sculptor, photographer, and writer. Robert was born December 20, 1945 in Buffalo, NY to Francis John and Doris Bernice (née Liddle) Holland. He attended Buffalo State College, and majored in psychology, then onto the University of Buffalo for graduate school for Social Work, macro planning and organization. Additionally, he attended the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge of Seneca Indian Historical Society, a New York State Education Charter and is certified and qualified to teach traditional Seneca ways of truth as taught by Twylah Hurd Nitsch (1913-2007), an elder in the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge.

Currently he is a full time artist but has worked for sixteen years as second generation waterwell, oil and gas driller in his family’s fifty-four-year-old business F.J. Holland Drilling, Chaffee, NY. He was an exhibits aquarist-curator at the Niagara Falls Aquarium, and he was awarded “Author of the Year” for the years 1973 and 1974, by the Canadian Organization of Aquarium Clubs. He designed and manages a fifty-three acre research habitat for threatened and endangered species in WNY and drafted the constitution used for Preservation of Agricultural Land Society in Ontario as well as the North America's first aquatic horticulture research and award program.

“I see art where and how it is and follow my bliss.”[1] – Robert John Holland

“In whatever tradition, positive role models vibrate with art. Truth provides the healthy soil for culture. The tradition of art connects the past to the present and takes it into the future.”[2] – Robert John Holland

“Face to back with reality is the truth of the poet. Twentieth-century morality images testify for Robert John Holland’s caring – he represents the introspective and meditative artist dedicated to deepening our understanding of our inner world of meanings and images, the reaffirmation of the intuitive as a prized dimension of the poetic impulse.”[3] – Dr. Julius Hubler

Artist Statement:

“The most consistent theme in my 40 years of artistic pursuits is my deep symbiotic connection to my surroundings. Symbiosis is defined as "an interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, usually to the advantage of both." My personal and artistic ambition is to bring viewers into that relationship so that they can become part of this unique connection and share this opportunity to preserve the environment that feeds and nourishes us for the better. I often digitize images to distill the elements that light obscures and capture a glimpse of the "otherworld" we so often walk by without a forward or backward glance. From my organic gardens, steel sculptures, to the surreal abstractions and dynamic installations, my art is a reflection of all of us, as I see it. I embrace a philosophy of living in a direct relationship with nature and assimilating and encoding the natural life cycle into the creative process. The aerobic/anaerobic balance in the aquarium and in the organic garden is the matrix of my conceptual model. I conceive of awe evolving from this focus, healing both personally and culturally.” – Robert John Holland


1945- December 20, born to Francis John and Doris Bernice (née Liddle) Holland, Buffalo, NY.

From 1964-66- Studied at Auburn Community College, Auburn, NY.

From 1967-70- He did social work and worked as a psychology specialist (91G20) for the United States Army in Vietnam.

From 1970-86- He worked as a waterwell, oil and gas driller, F.J. Holland Drilling, Chaffee, NY.

From 1971-73- Studied and earned hi B.A. in Psychology, Cum Laude, State University College at Buffalo, NY.

From 1975-77- He studied at the Graduate School of Social Work, and earned his Masters of Social Work, State University of NY at Buffalo, NY.

1978- Exhibited, solo show, Olean (New York ) Art Gallery. Began studies and research of the traditional Seneca ways of truth as taught by Twylah Hurd Nitsch (1913-2007), an elder in the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge, and later earned his certification and is qualified to teach.

1979-80- Exhibited, group shows, L&L Gallery, Longview, TX.

1982- September 1-October 3, exhibited, solo show, “Robert John Holland, Selected Illustrations From The Puzzle Has Four Pieces”, Rockwell Hall, Burchfield Center, Buffalo, NY. September 26, Robert gave a talk discussing the story and the process behind the paintings in the aforementioned exhibit.

1984-86- Exhibited, group shows, New York State Capitol Gallery, Albany, NY.

1986- Exhibited, solo show, Auburn Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1987- Exhibited, group show, Goldome Bank Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1990- Earned his certification in Environmental Geology, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, NY.

1991- Exhibited, solo show, Kenneth Young Gallery, Lawtons, NY.

1992-94- Exhibited, group shows, Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1993- Earned his teaching certification, Seneca Indian Historical Society, Irving, NY.

1993-95- Exhibited, solo shows, Theatre in the Square, Williamsville, NY.

1994- August 30, married Dorothy Ellen (née Foigelman).

1995- Exhibited, group show, Waligur-Doering Gallery, Hamburg, NY. Exhibited, solo show, Beaver Meadows Audubon Center, North Java, NY. Published his book, The Puzzle Has Four Pieces, by Robert John Holland, Paradise Hill Publishing, Cassadaga, NY.

1997- Exhibited, group show, Art Dialogue Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, solo show, The Upper Crust Gallery, Fredonia, NY.

2000- Exhibited, solo show, The Chautauqua Center for Visual Arts The Chautauqua Institute, NY.

2004- April 3-June 27, exhibited, group show, “Wet & Fresh: A Survey of Current Watercolor in Western New York”, Rockwell Hall, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

2012- May 11-August 26, exhibited, group show, “The Artists Among Us II: The Burchfield Penney’s Members’ Exhibition”, East Gallery, The Project Space, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

Memberships/Associations: Member of Hallwalls Contemporary Center Arts, Buffalo, NY; Member of the American Killifish Association; Member on the environmental and planning board Town of Sardinia, New York, 1983-1984; Member on planning and zoning board Town of Arkwright, New York, 1997.

Awards/Honors: Author of the Year Award, Canadian Organization of Aquarium Clubs, 1973-74; Buffalo Photo Material Company Award for Photography, “37th WNY Biennial Exhibition”, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 1977; John Rodwick Phototech Studio Award for Photography, “37th WNY Biennial Exhibition”, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 1977; Curator's Pick, Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair, Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1997; Curator's Prize, Slowinski Gallery, NYC, NY, 1998; Brenda Stern Award for new Media, “45th Chautauqua National Exhibition of American Art”, curated by Robert Storr Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2002.

Collections: “By a Full Moon” (1981), india ink on paper, 10-1/2 x 15-3/8 inches, Gift of the Artist, 1982, and “Dog Truth” (2012), oil on paper, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

Publications by the Artist: The Puzzle Has Four Pieces, by Robert John Holland, Paradise Hill Publishing, Cassadaga, NY, 1995.

Artist website: To view additional works or to contact the artist, please visit Robert’s website link.

(Rewritten in parts & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY,, sources: The artist’s personal website,; as well as others which are furnished upon request.)