The tension between culture and nature has informed my work for years. Growing up just north of Manhattan allowed me to study both the natural world of the Hudson River Valley and the city’s influential museums and galleries. Gathering meaning from these rich environments allowed me to see inseparable connections between the two. The subject matter I explore also compels me to face current issues in the larger world through art.
Before moving to Philadelphia, I received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland and studied at Syracuse University in Florence, Italy. Most recently, InLiquid at the Bride presented paintings from my ongoing series, Nightscapes, at the Painted Bride Café Gallery. I have been included in group exhibitions at Gallery Siano, The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Main Line Art Center, and Maryland Art Place. I am also a proud participant in CFEVA’s Regional Community Arts Program.
In Nightscapes, a series of paintings and digital collages, I explore the eternal themes of darkness and light, knowledge and ignorance, culture and nature through a new lens: satellite imagery of the earth and universe. I create contemplative and sensual paintings that allow the viewer to react emotionally to these distant images. I use maps, geology, and climate science as much as my personal vision, engaging the issues without illustrating an opinion.
Our understanding of these new satellite images and their consequences for our culture is still in early development, but I believe they belong to the art historical landscape tradition as it moves into the 21st Century. Through new technology we gain immense knowledge about the cosmos, simultaneously the stars in our night sky are disappearing as the face of our planet increasingly resembles those stars.
Satellite images present us with only visual information because we cannot engage with them in a tactile way. There is no texture, sound, scale, or atmosphere that relates to these images. As a painter I find this very interesting because it allows me to explore the same relationships that abstract artists have explored. However, my paintings are far from non-objective abstraction.
Abstract painters who evoke quiet contemplation, such as Mark Rothko, Brice Marden, and Agnes Martin, have influenced me. The land art movement has opened the range of themes available to me, because they introduced metaphors that are the size of the world. I reach back to Caravaggio to understand that chiaroscuro, the dramatic play of light and shadow, has deep roots in western painting. Contemporary influences include Yvonne Jacquette, Vija Celmins, and Joyce Kozloff.
If one were to hover in space over the east coast, the lights from Boston to Washington, DC at night would form what appear to be thick luminescent ropes cascading down the eastern seaboard. Throughout the world, signs of human industrialization are visible from space as light. This web of lights spans the entire globe and clearly displays our new and colossal influence on our planet. Today we have gained more knowledge of the universe than any people in history, and every night we look for stars in a night sky that is diluted by a multitude of burning bulbs. My ultimate goal is to present the viewer with something they have not seen before, and will need to be aware of if they choose to consider humanity’s current and future place in the universe.
Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Syracuse University, Florence, Italy
Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Regional Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA
Northwest Artists’ Collective
Visiting Critic, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Creator and organizer, The Art Slam
Exhibitions Committee, Allens Lane Art Center, Philadelphia PA
2008 – present
Owner and lead artist, The Artful Interior, Custom Decorative Painting, Philadelphia, PA
2006 – 2010
President, Northwest Artists’ Collective
2003 – present
Residential decorative art, Colkett Painting, Philadelphia, PA
Theater Scenic Artist, DC Jewish Community Center, Washington, DC
Theater Scenic Artist, Everyman Theater, Baltimore, MD
2002 – 2003
Residential decorative art, Molly Allen Studios, Washington, DC
Residential decorative art, Christine Nicole Productions, Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Municipal Opera Company, Baltimore, MD
2001 – 2002
Theater Scenic Artist, Centerstage Theater, Baltimore, MD
Residential decorative art, Twin Diamond Studios, Baltimore, MD
Theater Scenic Artist, Theater For A New Audience, New York, NY
New Works, Ryan John Art Salon, Philadelphia, PA
Northwest Artists Collective, Mt. Airy Contemporary Artists Space and Allens Lane Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
Silent Spaces, Sam Quinn Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Live With It, Photo West Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Northwest Artists’ Collective, Sedgwick Cultural Center, Philadelphia, PA
Nightscapes, InLiquid at the Bride, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
Northwest Artists’ Collective Group Exhibition, St. Asaph Gallery, Bala Cynwyd, PA
Group Exhibition, Gallery Siano, Philadelphia, PA.
From the Studio III, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia, PA
Landscape Revisited, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA
Regional Arts Program, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Einstein Hospital and Frankford High School Philadelphia, PA
Tree Climb, Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD
Living Room Concert Series Group Exhibition, Washington, DC
Images copyright © Daniel Oliva
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