Holly Trostle Brigham

am a figurative painter who creates mythic allegories of contemporary and historical subjects. Whether I am painting a commissioned portrait or a self-portrait, I combine realism with myth, history, and art history to more fully represent the life of my sitter.

My paintings are rich with symbolism. I include flowers, butterflies, and other things from nature that communicate messages about the subject. These elements are interconnected with biographical references to tell a larger story about the sitter's life or place in history.

I recently finished a series called Seven Sisters. It includes seven watercolor self-portraits in the guise of women artists throughout time. In many cases, I seek to recreate a lost painting from an artist's career. By doing so, I enjoy the ultimate in role playing. I am simultaneously artist, model, historian, and art historian. Calling upon my training in art history, I meticulously research the artist's career as well as the material culture of her era: interiors, painting materials and methods, clothing, and things that she might have owned. Because each of these portraits of historical women artists is based on my own likeness, I am exploring my relationship to these important foremothers.

Currently, I am painting Seven Sisters II where I take on the role of seven historical nuns in the act of creating. Plautilla Nelli was an Italian 16th-century sister who painted large works for her convent and for outside patrons. One of the subjects will be embroidering, one painting an illuminated manuscript, and so on.

I am primarily working in watercolor, though my work ranges from drawing to oil painting, a recent collaboration in printmaking, and painted sculptural assemblage.

Maria Sibylla Merian: Metamorphosis, 2010

Tamara de Lempicka: On Autopilot, 2009

Watercolor on Paper
29 1/2" x 29 1/2"

Sophonisba and Her Painted Ladies, 2008

Watercolor on Paper
29 1/2" x 29 1/2"

Judith and Flora, 2003

Freeing the Frieda in Me, 2003

Artemesia: Blood for Blood, 2000

Elisabeth and Julie as Juno and Flora, 2011

Watercolor on Paper
29 1/2" x 29 1/2"

Hildegard, 2011

Dead Hildegard, 2011


Holly Trostle Brigham is currently preparing for a solo exhibition in September 2013 at the Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. She will be in a group show of women artists at Penn State the Lehigh Valley in February 2012. Her work will be on view at ACA Galleries in Chelsea, NYC in the summer of 2012 as well. In addition, Holly is finishing up a print collaboration with the Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI) at Lafayette College, where she was artist-in-residence.

Holly grew up in Carlisle, PA, and attended Smith College, where she studied Art History and Italian. After Smith, she studied for a Master's in Art History at the University of Pittsburgh and then attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Afterwards, she earned an MFA in Painting from George Washington University. Holly has taught at Pasadena City College, Lebanon Valley College, Worcester State College, the Worcester Art Museum School, and The Baum School of Art.

Her work may be found in numerous private collections and at the Smith College Museum of Art, as well as at George Washington University and the student collection at PAFA. She maintains a studio in her home in Philadelphia, where she lives with husband David and two children, Noble and Flora.

32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

Bread Loaf
Poetry by the Sea


Barefoot Muse Press
David Robert Books
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Graywolf Press
Headmistress Press
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Louisiana State University Press
Northwestern Univ Press
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Persea Books
Red Hen Press
Texas Tech Univ Press
Tupelo Press
Univ of Akron Press
Univ of Arkansas Press
Univ of Illinois Press
Univ of Iowa Press
Waywiser Press
White Violet Press

City Lights
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
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Prairie Lights
Tattered Cover Bookstore

92nd Street Y
Literary Mothers
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