Brush Stokes (Detail) Collage, Mixed Media on Paper, 30” x 22”, 2014

Brush Stokes (Detail)
Collage, Mixed Media on Paper, 30” x 22”, 2014


Painting in a classic sense has always acted as a window or as an opening into a type of space.  Artists’ such as Robert Motherwell and Matisse have explored this concept extensively in their work.  Looking through this lens, James Olley thinks of his work as a device to decode and translate a space.  The space is one beyond our visible reality, a type of Hyper Reality which is veiled by an imitation. Using these notions Olley’s works reveal an alternate space, one between layers and cannot be seen by the naked eye.


“The process of painting is continual self-criticism, is this the truth or not? Searching for  personal truth, authenticity, truth is beauty, beauty is truth … ” – Robert Motherwell, Storming the Citadel.


For Olley, is it is in the moment of discovery when the subject is revealed, the space becomes realized, as he divides the canvas, negotiates space and employs a combination of formal considerations, expressive and organic marks, line, geometry, architectural forms and complex spatial relationships that engages his practice and forms the space. Olley’s canvas acts as an arena to house these modes of expression, depicting co-habited environments, where at times painterly languages compete for their dominance. The forms within these spaces are mindfully investigated and treated as unique living and evolving spaces, which manifest and are constantly adapting and responding. As Olley constructs, negotiates and responds, a dialog is formed and fused between the Artist and the subject.


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