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Nancy Olivier

Nancy Olivier came to NYC in 1977 to pursue a career as an abstract painter. Her drawings and paintings have been featured in many venues, including Metaphor Contemporary Art, Robert Pardo Gallery, Kim Foster Gallery, White Columns, PS 122, Marymount Manhattan College, 55 Mercer, and The Painting Center. Among her awards are The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Individual Artist Grant, A New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, artist-in-residence fellowships from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Altos De Chavon in the Dominican Republic. Her work has been written about by Mario Naves, Jed Perl, Ronny Cohen, and Terry R. Myers, among others, in The New York Observer, The New York Times, Artforum, and The New Art Examiner. Olivier’s drawings and paintings are in many private and public collections. She lives and works in Long Island City, NY.


This series of paintings is about subverting formalism by turning its conventions on itself. The strategy is a way to deconstruct minimal and formal abstraction, explicating its means and methods by taking it apart and observing how its parts (motif, structure, color, mark, etc.) work. This objectification transforms both the functions and the implications of these elements, presenting a finished product that thwarts pre-conceived notions of interpretation. My intention is to describe a metaphoric territory where gesture, line, motif and color lead through a distinct, personalized language of abstraction to a more general explication of its concerns. The paintings are an investigation that deals with both new solutions to formal problems and a means of working through them.​

Using quotidian marks, patterns and shapes, my work is an abstract exploration of ways of making Art, to reveal the connections of Art to Life. The actual production of my work, on wall or paper or wood, involves combining different types of drawing and lines–– an automatist scribble; patterns overlaid and underneath; and bands and washes of color, both transparent and opaque. Multiple layers of marks create a depth-of-field in which the linear elements weave time and process; the "content" encompasses metaphors for physicality and memory. Working one layer of marks against the next, they are transformed through a history of process. Materials behave and signify according to their inherent qualities, reinforcing the dichotomy of “controlled randomness”. This is my “Material Metaphor”.







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