There Will Be Time
- Exhibition: January 10 – February 4, 2022
- Reception and Artist Talk: Thursday, February 3 at 6pm
- Register here for the virtual Artist Talk.
Following his first solo exhibition in Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi, David Olivant had a solo show at the Center for International Contemporary Art in NYC, just a stone’s throw from MOMA. He was favorably full-page reviewed by Kay Larsson in New York Magazine which led to his ultimately being represented by Stephen Solovy in Chicago. Olivant has periodically contributed reviews to Art Critical, Art Ltd and Square Cylinder. His first teaching position was at Southwest Texas State University after which he accepted a post at California State University, Stanislaus in 1995, where he taught for 25 years before retiring in 2020 and moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is now an artist member of Amos Eno Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.
Mark Van Proyen in a recent catalog essay on David Olivants’s recent work states:
"It slowly dawns on the viewer that the what of these works and the how they are made both mirror and editorialize on each other, all the while bearing witness to the consequences of a social world on the verge of amusing itself to death, struggling to fully apprehend the consequences of its translation of myopia into zeitgeist…
Olivant’s figures are pictured as being free to come and go, but they do neither, because wherever they might travel to and from would offer little that was significantly different from the possibilities available in the locations in which they are depicted. They live in a Sartrean hell of programmatic indifference, impassively seeking salvation from a runaway complexity that changes guises while moving in rhetorical circles. Nonetheless, it is their hell, and the fact that it is portrayed as a familiar one makes it seem something like home. In that way, these protagonists are tragicomic, earmarked by a canny balancing of the elements of charm, pathos and absurdity to slyly suggest the ways that each of those aspects is an obliquely mirrored reflection of the others, all stage-managing anxious relations between multiple modes of disconnected particularity.”
There Will Be Time
- February 3 – 26, 2021
- Register Here for the Artist Talk on Zoom at 6:30 pm Thursday, February 11
- Now open! Visit the virtual exhibition.
- View the Catalog (TBA)
This exhibit provides a survey of some of the work which David produced during the time he was a professor at Stanislaus State-1995-2020. The work has undergone a number of radical shifts in medium and genre from detailed gestural abstraction in the mid 90’s to complex figurative narrative ceramics at the turn of the millennium. Moving into the new century his work continued the concerns of the ceramic sculptures while taking the form of large narrative pastel drawings. In the last six years or so of his tenure, David sought to fuse the sculptural and the two-dimensional in about eighty assemblages which often utilized fragments of his earlier sculptures. All of the work was made with little sense of its final form and reliance on contact with imagery arriving from unknown sources through constant worrying and refashioning of the materials he worked with. This methodology formed the basis of some of his innovative approaches to teaching studio art, which sought to undermine the illusion of certitude and steady progress which tends to be a tacit assumption of art department curricula in the US.
During his tenure at Stanislaus Olivant held solo exhibitions in India and Germany, as well as Fresno, Merced, Davis, Turlock, San Bernardino and Santa Clara, all in California. He now lives and makes art in Santa Fe NM.
Although my work in this exhibit spans twenty years and a multitude of styles, materials, attitudes and genres, all of it is animated by the attempt to make contact with that which is likely uncontactable. My only recourse and one which I had recognized at the very outset of my career was to cease relying on any formulae or certitudes, as in doing so I would only rediscover what I already knew, which wasn’t much anyway. Gradually I realized that the “characters” in my paintings, drawings and sculptures, although they started life as extensions of myself should rightly be considered as autonomous personalities and hence something worth the effort of contacting even if it meant the renunciation of my own wishes for them. Around 2008 I realized, albeit gradually, that by fusing sculpture and painting - something that I believe was best accomplished by the medieval and renaissance sculptors of Northern Europe, artists like Veit Stoss and Tilman Riemenschneider – I could fuse two heterogeneous worlds in a manner that would suggest or embody, even, the type of “impossible” contact I was seeking. More recently (since 2018) that fusion of the real and the illusory, the solid and the flat has become again compressed and shifted in ways that I hope will erode the viewer’s certainties, both about the material nature of what they see in my work and about their own ontological integrity.
- Curriculum Vitae.pdf
- April 20 – May 7, 2010
- Reception: April 22 at 5:30 pm
September 4-October 10, 2008
Towards the Door We Never Opened: Recent Sculpture
September 10-28, 2001
David Olivant creates complex narrative sculptures in clay, inspired by themes typical to traditional South Asian culture. Olivant’s sculptural works develop a personal mythology and “mark a return to an explicit figuration and the use of complex archetypal imagery.” Olivant teaches Painting and Drawing at Stanislaus State. Born and educated in England, his MA is from the Royal College of Art, London, and BA from the Falmouth School of Art. His solo exhibitions include: the Fresno Art Museum, the Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi, India; Stephen Solovy Fine Art, Chicago; and the Center for International Contemporary Art, New York
Updated: June 27, 2023