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Around The Board

Land, Water, and Sky: Watercolors by Donald Holden and Photographs by Cam Garner

Central Park: The Lake by Donald Holden, 1999 Watercolor on paper

Donald Holden
Central Park: The Lake, 1999
Watercolor on paper
Gift of the artist

Nags Head by Cam Garner, 2010 Archival pigment print

Cam Garner
Nags Head, 2010
Archival pigment print
Gift of the artist

An exhibition at the Federal Reserve Board from May 13 to September 20, 2013

This exhibition brings together paintings and photographs by two artists who explore abstract design in nature. Donald Holden’s watercolors are small in scale and full of color, inviting viewers to have a more intimate relationship with his paintings. Cam Garner’s photographs are vast and rhythmic, allowing viewers to feel as though they are a part of the setting. Together, the artists capture magnificent views of the American landscape. Although nature is the primary focus for both artists, each pushes their work toward abstraction: Holden focuses on silhouettes, providing visual clues that suggest horizon lines, rock formations, or watery reflections; Garner uses digital enhancements to reveal shadows and to accentuate colors, giving his photographs imaginary, yet familiar, qualities.

Born in 1931 in Los Angeles, California, Donald Holden studied at the Art Students League in New York City and graduated from Columbia University. In his paintings, Holden wants to capture the underlying essence of the scene, rather than the topographic aspects.  When traveling to locations such as the Hudson River Valley, the Maine coast, the Adirondacks, and Yellowstone, Holden makes crayon sketches of his favorite scenes. Back in his studio, he uses them as inspiration for his watercolors. Holden often labors over a scene, creating and destroying several works until he achieves the one that captures a sense of poetry and spontaneity, requirements for a great watercolor. Inspired by the Venetian painters, Holden applies one transparent wash over another to create optical layers that read like stained glass. In the end, his intimate watercolors encourage viewers to immerse themselves in each work, allowing time for the eye to reveal the images. In 1994, Holden was elected to the National Academy, and he continues to paint in his studio in Irvington, New York. His watercolors and drawings are in the permanent collections of many museums in the United States and Britain.

Born in 1948 in Houston, Texas, Cam Garner became interested in photography as a teenager while growing up on the California coast. He started by photographing surfers, but soon shifted his lens to the picturesque seaside landscape. In the photographs in this exhibition, Garner explores the infinite landscape that exists at the shoreline, a boundary between land, sea, and sky. These photographs express the beauty and solitude of the artist’s experience. In the sky and sea photographs, Garner captures the endless space at the edge of the ocean, the varied colors of the sky, and the shape of the transitory clouds. His black and white coastal landscapes focus on the sculptural rock formations found along the beach. In the pier studies, Garner is captivated by the way light passes through and around the forms, which creates dramatic abstract shadows within the momentum of the surf and the colorful backlit sky. Today, Garner continues to photograph in his home state of California and throughout the world. Most recently, his subjects have included California’s Salton Sea and the people of Cuba.

Land, Water, and Sky: Watercolors by Donald Holden and Photographs by Cam Garner is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except federal holidays. Reservations are required at least five business days in advance. For reservations and further information, please email


Last update: May 13, 2013