David Olivant

Daid OlivantA Brief Pre and Post History of Dismemberment.
For several years a full size ceramic woman built in 2001 and originally intended for display on the floor, found herself hanging from my office wall. This was almost entirely due to economies of space and the incremental filling up of those parts of space to which I could claim at least tenancy if not ownership. It made her less liable to being stepped on, but had partially reduced an already narrow entryway. I had only timidly begun a haphazard assessment of the possible aesthetic merits of this novel placement when it dawned on me that the new positioning rendered parts of her anatomy, normally almost concealed when this lady sprawled on the floors for which she had been intended, now appallingly prominent to those seeking entrance to my office. The situation received a temporary redress in the form of items like dessert spoons, masking tape, whatever came to hand, used as surrogate fig leaves.
Clearly the situation needed more permanent solutions and the one that most recommended itself some time in April of 2017 was dismemberment, always a sketchy proposal in the case of large fired ceramics. I will spare readers the mechanics of such an act, except to say that despite the application of chisels and hammers and a certain amount of brute force the entire operation was undertaken in a spirit of modest regret and humility not in the least seasoned by misogyny or rejection at an impressionable age by girls whose divine beauty and grace placed them clearly ‘out of my league’!
It might scarcely be possible, even in the presence of the five images which comprise the current Dismemberment series and in which have been utilized all but the least prominent fragments, to mentally re-assemble the ‘source’ woman or even to know that there was such a common source, so let’s just give up on that—not the point anyway. The thrust of this series for me has been the attempt to accommodate such large fragments onto a relatively small surface. Almost inevitably it has entailed suggesting that the large fragments displayed are continued in the form of something more complete beyond the material confines of the format, almost as if what is displayed could be a fragment of a much larger story or as if the work of art is a glimpse, or a residue of something else and it is this “something else” more than the prior existence of a complete ceramic woman that I hope the viewer might begin to extrapolate from the glimpse. At the very least the possibility of entering my office and making it all the way to the back room with a clean conscience is now restored.

Phone: (209) 667-3434
Office: A11
Email: DOlivant@csustan.edu
Curiculum Vitae
Personal Website: www.davidolivant.com

Demise of the scopophiliac
Return of the Hunter Gatherer