On Saturday, April 1st, Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) is proud to premiere the new collection from Welsh-born, Los Angeles-based pop surrealist painter Richard J. Oliver. The opening reception for “Immersion” will run from 7-11pm at CHG. The reception is open to the public and the exhibit will be on view through April 29th.
It’s been two years since Oliver had his last solo exhibition of new works, and the wait is well worth it. This new collection of paintings, entitled “Immersion,” is everything that is the best of Oliver — soulful, beautiful, heart-wrenchingly emotional and engaging in a unique and timeless way.
Regarding his new collection, Oliver shares: “This body of work is an expression of, and a meditation on deep rooted feelings of dissociation, isolation and the difficulties of realizing a union between mind and body. I get trapped seeking meaning and understanding at the expense of becoming unaware of the life-giving source that supports and nourishes me each second. While my attention is on insignificance, I miss the majesty of what is all around and within this existence. As a result, life can sometimes appear devoid of any vibrancy.
The challenge therefore has been to try and express this perplexity of uncertain and unclear ideas into a tangible and communicative expression using color and form, or as Plato puts it ‘render the realm of perfect eternal ideas into its imperfect copy.’
But why? Ultimately my hope is that meditating on interconnectedness and immersion in life will attend to the struggle and ease some suffering. By portraying this paradox of solitude of our human condition, I hope to relate and connect through relationships with others, who are feeling the same smallness and often frightening isolation of this human incarnation.
In each of these paintings I have tried to return to some equanimity. I have used the painting practice as a way to release the struggle by embracing all aspects of experience without judgment. While making the art, I adopted a loving kindness to all the inner feelings of confusion, frustration and limitation, and also an outward expression of compassion to others in the knowledge that they are likely to be experiencing the same difficulties in their lives.”
“My hope is that the paintings evoke the same feelings in the viewer that inspired me to make them and that somehow, in a small way, we can for just a moment not just be ‘on’ this little world, alone and isolated but be together and ‘of’ this nature and vast universe, and with compassion see in each other both beauty and suffering,” Oliver adds.
About Richard J. Oliver
Richard J Oliver was born and raised in Wales, United Kingdom, studied Fine Art at the University of the West of England and undertook his Masters at UWIC in Wales. In his time between studies, Oliver built his reputation, beginning in Wales and later gaining recognition throughout the UK. His work has been included in numerous European group shows, which then segued into solo shows, including an exhibition at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in Wales.
Oliver’s early work focused on his homeland, particularly the struggle of its youth trying to find identity in the aftermath of the local mining industry’s demise. His work often showcased the skeleton landscapes of mining villages in the Welsh valleys juxtaposed with contemporary youth. His latest works explore more universal subjects, from environmental issues to humanitarian and social problems that are close to his heart.
Since becoming a parent, Oliver has explored the anxieties of raising a child in an environment on the brink of disaster. The images touch on the tragedy of children forced to survive in an apocalyptic environment and violently fend for themselves. He transforms the natural instincts of fatherhood and family protection into striking visuals. More recently, portraits have crossed into the dark, brooding world of Grimm’s fairytales and surrealistic subjects that help convey the emotion and tragedy of our world’s children. Oliver works closely with many charities, having donating proceeds from his work to DreamLoveCure.org, City of Hope’s Department of Pediatrics, Williams Syndrome association and the Autism Society of Los Angeles.
Oliver currently paints and resides in Los Angeles.