Ana Maria Nicholson

Ana Maria Nicholson, PhD has been working as a holographic artist since 1978. She cofounded the Center for the Holographic Arts and was its director for eleven years. She has recorded holographic portraits of the famous and influential for over 30 years. Nicholson has exhibited her holographic work both locally and internationally. Her exhibitions include ‘Portraits in Laser Light’, a solo exhibition at the Fishbach Gallery in New York City in 1997 and her work has been featured in ‘Light and Sound’ at the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg, PA in 1996; Images de Futur in Montreal, Canada in 1993; World of Holography in Nagoya, Japan in 1989; and Laser 87 in Munich, Germany in 1987. Her exhibition ‘The Body Electric’ with Ikuo Nakamura was at the Green Street Gallery in New York in 2004 and at The Butler Institute of American Art in 2005-6. ‘Hide and Seek’ a solo exhibition of self-portraits consisting of holograms, photographs and video was shown at the Center for the Holographic Arts in 2007. An extended collection of ‘Portraits in Laser Light’ was shown at the Butler Institute of American Art in 2008–09 after which they acquired the series. The series from 1989 ‘Holographic Collaborations’ with Rudie Berkhout was exhibited at the Holocenter in 2008 and will be shown at Gallery 286, London in 2014. ‘Into the Night’ a solo show of large-scale holograms and installations was exhibited at the Flux Factory Gallery in New York in 2009. Nicholson has created a number of commissioned works for such companies as Ilford Ltd. U.K., Samsung Corporation and David Bowie Productions. Her works can be found in the collections of the National Geographic Society, the Keith Haring Estate, The National Science Foundation in Washington, DC, Domus International in Japan, The Butler  Institute for American Art, the MIT Museum and the Jonathan Ross Hologram Collection. Nicholson was awarded the Shearwater Award for Creative Holography in 1993.

Exhibitions and Artwork

Interference Coexistence (September 6 – October 19, 2013)

                                                                                    Awakening, 1994/5

Multiple exposure two color reflection hologram, 20 x 24″

Union, 2005

Open aperture transmission hologram,

film 41 x 22″ on Plexiglas with stand


“The nude figures in my holograms are all engaged in the primordial journey that has been a constant theme of legends and myths. This journey takes us from a state of separation and individual isolation into a position of integration and illumination. It is the pilgrimage of the psyche from its descent into the abyss, the unconscious to a state of transformation and reintegration. Some nude figures are still encased in their cocoon, not yet awakened. Other figures with hair fanning behind them plunge into the world of the unconscious, while others stand transformed within a field of light. ”

-Anna Maria Nicholson

Holographic Collaborations, 1989

Multiple exposure, two colour reflection holograms each 13 x 17″

Slithers of optical surfaces allow two figures to exist in the same space. Planes of light trace the two faces, revealing them as if explored through touch. These incomplete and overlapping visual shells remind us that we only experience the surface and of the mysterious beauty of perception.

Ana Maria Nicholson & Rudie Berkhout

Ana Maria Nicholson and Rudie Berkhout are both prolific holographic artists who each shaped different genres of the art form.Nicholson primarily works with portraiture, having created holograms of celebrities, spiritual leaders and diverse people. Her series ‘Into the Night’ captures the plight and power of women. Created in single and multiple pulse laser exposures, the women hold a space. Berkhout crafted holograms with laser light, creating spatially animated landscapes from simple objects and holographic optical elements. His work stood out in the field of holography, exploring the concept of holo-kinetics through optical spatial dynamics. Nicholson and Berkhout first met at the Museum of Holography where Nicholson was the director of the Portrait Studio.

As Nicholson describes: “It was a very hot afternoon and I was working on the laser when I looked up and saw this very handsome and charming man saying, “Can I help?” It was Rudie whom I had not met before although, of course I knew who he was. Rudie and I became very close friends, he would bike over to the Museum every afternoon and we would go to the coffee shop on Canal Street and talk for hours. What does it mean to be an artist, what are the social and spiritual values that an artist has to confront, what is holographic art, which is the best way to align the object beam. He gave me the encouragement to think as a holographic artist, to respect portraiture as an artistic medium, to experiment and explore the dimensions and space of the holographic medium.”

“It was meeting Rudie Berkhout that was the turning point in my career as an artist and a holographer.”

-Excerpt from ‘Holography: A Love Story’ – Ana Maria Nicholson, 2009 presented at the 8th International Symposium on Display Holography, Shenzhen China