Holly Fischer



2004      • MFA in Studio Art (Ceramic Concentration), Minor in Women and Gender Studies, 
                  University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

1999      • BA in Studio Art (Sculpture Concentration) Summa Cum Laude, Meredith College,                   Raleigh, NC


Awards and Grants

2007      • Josephine Beardsley Sandor Memorial Award, 111th Annual Exhibition, Catharine                   Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, The National Arts Club, New York, NY

2005-6  • Marie P. Cowen Fellowship in Ceramics & Artist-in-Residency, Worcester Center                   for Crafts, Worcester, MA

2004      • Sculptor of the Year, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Austin, TX

2004      • Nominee for Master of Fine Art Fellowship, Joan Mitchell Foundation

2003-4  • Marshall F. Wells Scholarship and Fellowship Endowment in the College of Fine                   Arts, University of Texas at Austin
               • Irving & Jeanette Goodfriend Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Art, University                   of Texas at Austin

2003      • Nominee for Master of Fine Arts Fellowship, Dedalus Foundation

2001-2  • Emily Maverick Miller and Emily Miller Wells Endowed Presidential Scholarship in                    Art, University of Texas at Austin

2001      • Merit Award, People’s Choice Award, Seventh Annual Spring Artists Exhibition,                    Juried Exhibition, Fine Arts League of Cary, Cary, NC
               • First Award, 23rd Annual Raleigh Fine Arts Society Artists Exhibition, Juried                    Exhibition, Raleigh, NC (juried by Miriam Schapiro)

2000-1   • Artist-in-Residency, Meredith College

2000       • Creative Ideas Grant, Meredith College

1999       • Eula Bagwell Jones Endowed Prize, Meredith College
                • Academic Excellence Award, Meredith College
                • Alpha Lambda Delta Maria Leonard Senior Book Award, Meredith College
                • Outstanding Student in Art, Meredith College
                • Louise Ruth Award, Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, Meredith College

1995-9   • Honors Scholar, Meredith College
                • Dean’s List, Meredith College
                • A.J. Fletcher Art Scholar, Meredith College
                • Julia Hamlet Harris Scholar, Meredith College

1996-9   • Kappa Nu Sigma Scholastic Honor Society, Meredith College

1998       • Meredith Undergraduate Research Conference Award, Meredith College

1996-8   • Merit Award, Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, Meredith College

1995       • Watauga County Arts Council Scholar, Boone, NC


Teaching Experience

2008-16• Adjunct Professor: Professional Studio Practices, Senior Exhibition, Portfolio
                  Photography, Sculpture, Ceramics, Three-Dimensional Design, Two-Dimensional
                  Design, Drawing I, Department of Art, Meredith College, Raleigh, NC

2011      • Adjunct Professor: Two-Dimensional Design, School of Design, North Carolina                   State University, Raleigh, NC   

    • Instructor of Ceramics: Tile & Mosaic, Claymakers, Durham, NC
               • Instructor of Ceramics: Enlarging from a Maquette, Pullen Art Center, Raleigh,                   NC

2007-8   • Art Instructor: Drawing, Ceramics, Explore Beyond School, Raleigh, NC

2006-7   • Visiting Artist in Ceramics: Ceramics Foundations, The Figure in Clay, Concepts                    on Fetishism, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

2005-7   • Instructor of Ceramics: Figure Sculpture, Independent Explorations in Clay, Teen                    Wheel, Tile and Mosaic, Worcester Center for Crafts, Worcester, MA

2004-5   • Professor of Foundation Studies: Two-Dimensional Design, Savannah College of                    Art & Design

• Instructor: Three-Dimensional Design, Department of Art and Art History,                    University of Texas at Austin

2001-3   • Teaching Assistant: Beginning Ceramics, Intermediate/Advanced Sculptural                    Ceramics, Intermediate/Advanced Contemporary Vessels, Life Drawing,                    Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin

1998-1   • Teaching Assistant: Ceramics, Sculpture, Art History, Dept. of Art, Meredith                    College

1998-9   • Teaching Assistant and Museum Intern, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh,                    NC

Additional Professional Experience

2011       • Visiting Artist, Workshop, and Lecture, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
                • Juror, Gut Feelings: Confessions of a Body Conscious Culture, Looking Glass Gallery,                   Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

2010       • Presenter and Demonstrator, Cabarrus Arts Council, Concord, NC
• Guest Presenter and Demonstrator, Central Carolina Community College, Siler                   City, NC

2009       • Guest Presenter and Demonstrator, Central Carolina Community College, Siler                   City, NC
                • Sculpture/Installation Judge, Emerging Artists Grant, Durham Art Guild, NC

2008       • Guest Presenter and Demonstrator, Clayworks Guild, Durham, NC 
• Workshop and Demonstration, Enlarging from a Maquette, Furini Memorial                    Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Symposium, Meredith College
                • Guest Presenter and Demonstrator, Triangle Potters Guild, Raleigh, NC

2007-8   • Guest Critic, Advanced Photo Processes, Meredith College

2007       • Marketing Mentor, The Business of Art, Meredith College

2004-7   • Commissioned Artist, Carol St. Clair Memorial Sculpture, Class of 1969, Meredith                    College

2002       • Gallery Intern, Creative Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin

2001       • Curator, Faculty Art Exhibition, Frankie G. Weems Gallery at Meredith College
                • Commissioned Artist, Henry-Copeland Art Collection, The University of North                    Carolina at Chapel Hill

2000-1   • Ceramic Technician, Meredith College
                • Commissioned Artist, Creative Research Grant, Meredith College

1999-0   • Assistant Tour Coordinator, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

1998       • Slide Librarian and Art Department Assistant, Meredith College

1997       • Commissioned Artist, Private Patrons (ongoing)

1995-7   • Gallery Assistant, Hands Gallery, Boone, NC
                • Gallery Assistant, Main Street Gallery, Blowing Rock, NC


Holly Fischer was born in Missoula, Montana, the first child of creative and resourceful parents cultivating their personal forms of artistic expression as part of the back-to-the-land movement of the 70s. Growing up with a skilled woodworker as a father and a professionally successful fiber artist as a mother provided Holly with the tools to foster her own creativity at a very young age.

Art is a second language for Holly; it has been her means for processing and conveying her internal struggle to balance being an intellectually strong and an emotionally vulnerable woman learning to be comfortable in her own skin. Her work explores duality and the spaces in-between perception and reality. She intends for her work to challenge the traditional roles of the observer and the observed with the hope that viewers will contemplate the fears and desires evoked through the act of looking.

Holly Fischer exhibits her work regionally and nationally and has received numerous awards and accolades, including commissioned sculptures for the campuses of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Meredith College. Holly has taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She is currently an adjunct instructor at Meredith College and is actively creating a new body of work.  


My work explores notions of femininity, sensuality, and beauty – concepts that are inherently visually seductive but simultaneously contain pejorative undertones. Depictions of the female form dominate our social landscape; however, stereotypical descriptions of femininity are frequently negative. Paradoxically, women struggle to navigate cultural reverence for beauty and sexuality while those same traits are often reviled as superficial and manipulative. I am intrigued by the complex disparity between emotional and intellectual responses to femininity that polarize what it means to be a woman. My forms allude to mythological female archetypes and reference the rich history of classical and baroque figurative sculpture. These representations of femininity are ubiquitous and have become romanticized ideals in our collective unconscious. Current cultural standards of female perfection manipulated by beauty, fashion, and sex industries thrive on artifice and unattainability. These campaigns are provocatively successful at shaping perception and desire. My work reflects the urge to reconcile the conflict of identification with glorified depictions of beauty from disrupted expectations when sexual icons prove to be illusion and fantasy. Sensual abstraction and the interplay of positive form and negative space become visual metaphors for deconstructed binary pairs explored in my work: seduction and repulsion, illusion and reality, objectification and empowerment. My goal is to imbue my sculptures with iconic feminine attributes, sampling from both villains and heroines from fairytales, history, and contemporary society. To convey the duality of these archetypal women - admired but feared, innocent yet guilty, perfect but flawed - I slice open my forms, expose provocative visceral folds, and reveal their hidden secrets. The figures continue to seduce with their beautiful and undulating curves, but the viewer is also given access to peer beneath the surface and contemplate the potential polarity of desire. I hope this subtle tension encourages viewers to confront personal beliefs and assumptions regarding beauty, sexuality, and characterizations of femininity. 

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