One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one’s perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.
Olive Ayhens paints and Olive Ayhens draws. She draws with paint and with pen and ink and watercolor. She creates an ongoing narrative about the world in which with live with a kind of never ending line that moves through space and defines the shifting environment. Olive is a city painter and an environmental painter. She cares deeply about how we impact our landscape and invites all living beings to be a part of the story.
Color is my first Language. My painting frequently evolves from a special sense of place and transformation of environments in my own quirky ways. Sometimes there is a political/ecological subtext but always the love of the paint itself—with layering it, with exploring color relationships, building textures, thin and think paint etc. I have fun with personification as well ass improbabilities of scale.
I work in connected series of paintings. Past series have reflected a year I spent in Montana, as well as aspects of California urban/tensions. My move to NYC from San Francisco inspired a series I refer to as The Aesthetics of Pollution. This theme deals with confrontation of nature versus the urban assault, gridlock in streams, streams returning to displace streets, with extinct and endangered animals, with bison up against skyscrapers etc.etc. I was a recipient of the LMCC world views residency(studio space in the former world trade center). The paintings while in residence reflected the many fabric patterns of architecture and gridlock. The experience of observing NYC from a highly elevated view point is similar to studying an organism under a microscope.
My paintings following my LMCC residency focused on the luminosity of night light, movement of bridges, complicated spooky images under expressways and geysers on the roads. Extreme Interiors was the next theme of my work. I visited a computer lab and was excited by the complexity of overlapping wires, equipment and robots. I felt this is like the city scape, a total living system. Shortly after the lab inspiration I attended an artist residency in Spain. I was influenced by the masterpieces of Moorish architecture as well as Gaudi’s genus & innovative work.
My travels and influences go on and on, Malta, Sicily, my Brooklyn neighborhood with endangered frogs placed in new luxury structures. Memories of Beats past includes animals in great architecture. I was invited by the MTA to do a piece celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Grand Central station. This fit my theme of grand architecture inside and outside. I had a residency in Roswell, NM and there it was sink holes that captured my passions. Now my latest influence has been the Dumbo neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is the monumentality of the anchors and the suspension of the suburb engineering of the bridges that has influenced new works. These interior and exterior themes can be very broad. The boundaries between inside and outside spaces become blurred with images intruding into and overlapping one another. I feel this is working from a contemporary space with distorted perspectives that arouses my intrigue. I am continuing with paintings of landscape in interiors and landscape as architecture, it’s exciting where this is taking my work.