Born in 1950 in a suburb of Paris, Mme Holzer is a painter, sculptor, visual artist and poet. Her works have been featured in multiple galleries in Europe, Africa, Australia, and in the United States (see list of credits, below).
Rose refers to her large warehouse studio as a “Cabinet d’Artiste” and a “cabinet of curiosity”. It is located in the countryside village of Ploërmel, in the Bretagne (Brittany) region of France (she has another studio in Paris). It’s a mash-up of functional work space, a museum and a warehouse of materials, tools and many finished works. She likes entertaining artists and collectors there and enjoys the creative discussions that occur. I enjoyed being exposed to the breath of her creativity while touring her “cabinet”.
I asked Rose if, as a young child, she thought she was more interested in art than were her classmates. “I may have been the only child who used fingernails to scratch forms into furniture.” Point made.
As a 7 year old she was assigned homework - draw an autumn tree. Much to her deep disappointment, when she submitted her depiction the teacher accused her of having accepted adult assistance. Being falsely accused wounded her. Besides, she was herself dissatisfied with her creation. The leaves were not in the proper proportion. Thus, at an early age Rose learned to trust her instincts and her inner critic.
Having been raised in the French countryside, Rose was intrigued by nature. She was fascinated by insects, particularly ants. As I looked at a series of large canvases in her home and studio, inspired by her five years in Africa, I saw a congestion of human forms which appear ant-like.
"Champs de Someil"
Her time in the Congo on the African continent taught her a deeper humility, a gift from the Third World. She describes the Africans as “great sculptors of the soul”. “I quickly passed from the individual to the crowd, the multitude.”
Over several decades, Rose has expressed her creativity in many forms, using varied materials in two and three dimensions. “Africa gave me a greedy hunger for recycling. I collected pieces of string, old papers, pieces of wood . . . stone, metal, lead and other materials.” She works with oil (she adores the odor), with wax, and with pigments, glue and India ink. She uses various surfaces such as silk paper stuck to linen, craft paper in layers to the consistency of thick tree bark, and wire twisted into human forms. “I still have so much to explore.”
"La Chapelle Noire"
Her early career “hyper-réaliste” works are impressive, including this portrait of her parents. As wonderful these hyperrealism works are, she soon grew bored with the style.
Madame Holzer’s creativity is as boundless as is her imagination. (roseholzer.com; Instagram @#roseholzer). She creates art and poetry as effortlessly as she breathes. To her, it’s “as natural as opening her eyes as the day arrives and as natural as drinking water when thirsty.” Asked to describe the inspiration behind her painting. “A multiple glance of what I see, what I feel, what I breathe . . . wherever I am.” It’s an inner vibration that is always buzzing: “I feel like I am on the edge of an abyss of unexplored treasure, which makes me dizzy. And I go on . . . “
I wondered how she experienced this “vibration” in day-to-day life. She said that she spontaneously wanders into her creative mind. When an inspiration strikes she is quick to get to work on it, and if that is not practical she takes detailed notes.
Rose cannot imagine living her life any differently. Early on she left a well-paying position in advertising to spend more time in the cabinet. Her devotion frequently distracts from other activities, tasks and responsibilities. Her husband, who is very supportive and who manages the business side of her art world, would prefer that she spent less time in the Cabinet d’Artiste and more in the home cabinet! But he understands that when Rose is creating she “feels great happiness and intense joy and a sense of freedom like when the sky lights up.”
"[Monologue] et mères noires"
“Je n’ai rien vu venir . . ."
What is very apparent from a visit to the studio is the volume of finished work. She explained that her parents instilled in her a strong work ethic. Raised on a farm, her father toiled long days and her mother had worked since the age of 13. “ ‘Ne jamais baisser les bras’ (never lower the arms, meaning “never give up, don’t be lazy”) they would tell me.” Rose would recall those words occasionally when she felt unmotivated.
"Cabinet d' Artiste"
"Conversation au Cabinet d' Artiste"
“À l’est du fleuve”
Rose typically has multiple creations underway at any given time and her hands are never idle. She showed me “Les Prénoms” a very impressive textile work in progress, consisting of 3 inch squares each with a hand-embroidered female name, a total of 1,500 hand-embroidered names in all!
I asked about her poetry and the blending of her writing and painting. “Words and painting allow the soul to express itself. I write in small touches. It is my hidden face. I blackened small notebooks with words and drawing. Paintings need words and words need paintings. I find them indissociable.”
Had she experienced sexism in the French commercial art world? I had assumed so, and I was correct. As a woman, her path has been far more difficult than it would have been had she been male. She recalled an art exhibit where a prospective buyer had selected a few of her creations. Rose overheard a man advising the buyer to not purchase the art because “they will never take value: it is a woman.”
Madame Holzer closed our discussion by emphasizing how creativity adds color and texture to everyday life, not just to the fine works of art that she creates. She leaves us with these thoughts in her native French:
“La passion c’est comme une vocation, il faut savoir donner un intérêt aux choses autour de soi, savoir écouter, observer et beaucoup travailler...
“le jeu en vaut la chandelle” après c’est que du bonheur ce que l’on reçoit en retour.”
“Passion is like a vocation, you have to know how to be interested in things around you, how to listen, observe and work a lot ...
‘The game is worth the candle’ (French expression) after it is that happiness what we receive in return.”
Thank you, Madame Holzer, for sharing a bit of your passionate creativity with us!
1983 - Art-Expo (New-York/Dallas) • 1978/1985 - Salon d'Automne - Salon de Mai
• Salon des indépendants (Grand Palais/ Paris) • 1978/1985 - Salon d'Automne - Salon de Mai
• Salon des indépendants (Grand Palais/ Paris) • 1985/1990 - Figuration Critique (Paris, Anvers, Corée du Sud, San Francisco) • 1998 - Intérior (Kinhasa - Zaire) • 1992 - Fondation Paribas (Paris),
• 1993 : Fondation Straffor, (Paris) • 1994 - Fondation Hewlett-Packard (Paris)
• 1995 - International Woman's Day, ONU (Genève) • 1995 - Galerie Quadrige (Nice) ℗
• 1996 - Galerie Percosi Del'Arte (Venise) ℗ • 1996 - Galerie Brûlée (Strasbourg) ℗
• 1997/1998 - Mac 2000 (Paris) • 2001 - Galerie Claude Dorval (Paris)
• 2000 / 2003 - Yves Halard (Paris) ℗ • 2006 - MARS GALLERY (Melbourne)
• 2006 - Galerie Nast (Paris) ℗ • 2007- Artificialia - Maison d'Art Bernard Anthonioz (Paris)
• 2008 - Âtman-Atmem - Espace Out Of This World (Montreux)
• 2008 / 2009 Nobilis, (Paris) ℗ • 2010 / 2012 / 2014 -Galerie Nast (Paris) ℗
2016 - Création du Cabinet d’Artiste (Paris) ℗