Olive Ayhens

Olive Ayhens

Fellow: Awarded 2006
Field of Study: Fine Arts

Competition: US & Canada

Artist’s Statement


My work is much involved with my love of the paint itself—with layering it, building textures, etc., all this is striving for a sensual visual beauty. Color is my first language. I have fun with personification as well as improbabilities of scale. My work is heavily influenced thematically by my environment, both physical and spiritual.

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 for the Marie Walsh Studio space inspired a group I refer to as "The Aesthetics of Pollution." This theme deals with nature versus the urban assault, gridlock in streams, with bison up against skyscrapers, etc. I was a recipient of the World Views LMCC residency (studio in the former World Trade Center). My paintings while working up there reflected the fabric patterns of architecture. The experience of observing NYC from a highly elevated viewpoint is similar to studying an organism under a microscope. My work following the residency was involved with superimposing volcanic activity in the Hudson as a metaphor for the competitiveness of the Manhattan area. After 9/11 I put those paintings aside and focused on the luminosity of night light, movement of bridges,spooky images under expressways and geysers on the roads. My next group of paintings were working with the theme of "Extreme Interiors." I visited a computer lab and was excited by the complexity of overlapping wires, equipment, robots. I felt this is like the cityscape, a total living system.Shortly after the lab inspiration I had an artist residency in Spain. From this experience I was influenced by the masterpieces of Moorish architecture as well as Gaudi’s innovative work. These interior themes can be very broad. The boundaries between inside and outside spaces become blurred with images intruding and overlapping one another. I continue to be influenced by place and travel; paintings of landscape in interiors and landscape as architecture. It’s exciting where this is taking my work: it’s a life’s journey.


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