HIGH NOON is proud to present Bobbie Oliver’s solo debut with the gallery, Residuals. Oliver’s paintings unfold like the feeling of a dream upon waking, wherein something once vivid slips away into the unconscious, leaving only remanants reverberating in the conscious mind. Within the range of Oliver’s monochromatic Rorschach worlds, elements take shape like staring at the sky, deciphering the oscillation of clouds. Within a nebulous environment, forms come into focus with unexpected intention and serenity. Her process is a very physical and immediate way of working, creating an emotional, intuitive sense based on the opacity and gesture; the fill of the space manages to feel not monochromatic, but like an entire palette. Oliver pays close attention to how the paint sits on the surface, slowly evolving into an informed space of simplicities and simultaneous complexities that create depth and definition.
Working mainly wet on wet, a significant influence comes from Chinese landscape paintings and Japanese calligraphy, where the combined precision and fluidity of the mark mimic the environments they are often depicting. Water becomes an important medium, creating atmospheric perspective depending on the dilution of pigment in each pass, some blending into the background while denser elements stand at attention like an eager student at the front of the class. However, unlike in Chinese inkwash paintings, color is very much present within her work, specifically in her sensitivity to tonal relationships. Oliver expressed hesitation in using color but found an undeniable bond while traveling extensively in India, where large pyramids of spices and pigments surround like great, polychromatic sand dunes lining the street markets. The intrigue in opposities and dualities that steer the motions through the work--- the push and pull of sharp and soft, dark and light, beginning and ending, allude to the Japanese aesthetic philosophy “Wabi Sabi,” which recognizes the beauty in the transitional nature of all things--- unifying the gestural, physical, and material. The resulting middle ground of familiarity and unfamiliarity forces the viewer to spend more time with what they recognize in a moment of uncertainty.
Oliver says this new body of blue works was a specific experience as an exercise in focus. Within the current state of world affairs and political contention, feeling grounded becomes a mindful practice. Narrowing down the color palette to a blue monochrome within this prolific body of paintings allows for focus on interactions both formally and metaphorically, embracing the in-between in times when certainty is on shaky ground.
Bobbie Oliver lives and works in New York and Rock Valley, NY. She has exhibited in New York at Hionas Gallery, Feature Gallery, Showroom, Valentine Gallery as well as solo shows in Toronto at the Olga Korper Gallery, in Los Angeles at the Jancar Gallery and The George Gallery in Laguna Beach. She has received awards from The Canada Council, The Ontario Arts Council, The New York State Council for the Arts and the Pollock Krasner Foundation.
Born in Canada, she spent 10 years in England working and studying in her formative years. After moving to New York, she worked for Isamu Noguchi and La Monte Young and then taught painting at Princeton University, School of Visual Arts, NY, Banff School of Arts, Canada and The Rhode Island School of Design where she taught painting and drawing and served as Head of the Painting Department. She also taught at the National College of Art in Lahore, Pakistan and the Rhode Island School of Design in Rome, Italy.