Erin Oliver received her MFA from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. She also holds an Art Education degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. Oliver has received several grants and residency fellowships including the Vermont Studio Center, the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation, Penland School of Crafts, the Ella Foundation Pratt Emerging Artist Grant, and was recently awarded the Gasparilla Emerging Artist Award, juried by Paul Galloway from MOMA. Her paintings and installation work has been exhibited along the East coast including Tempus Projects in Tampa, FL, the Carrack Modern Art in Durham, NC, and the Greenhill Center for North Carolina Art in Greensboro, NC.
My latest body of work uses tunnel book structures as a jumping off point for exploring layered spaces through flat materials, primarily paper, to create depth and optical environments that expand into physical space. I also experiment with light, color, and shadows to project replicated forms and make these spaces more complex. The materials serve as objects as well as screens, distorting the sense of light and space, and notions of real, constructed, and imagined. The cut-outs generate negative shapes that become areas for bodies as well as light to pass through, projecting shadows, repeating shapes, and perpetuating abstraction of the forms and spaces within the whole.
My multi-disciplinary practice integrates phenomena of a place to investigate ideas about abstraction and artifice, cyclical processes, and natural patterns. Through an intuitive making process, I respond to the landscape and use abstraction to deconstruct natural imagery through drawing, cutting, layering, and suspending ephemeral materials in space. The environments I construct become surrogate landscapes, acting as portals to transport the viewer to fascinating fantasy worlds. I conjure abstracted biomorphic forms from nature, such as plant life and wave patterns, to evoke calming biological responses. These encounters aim to facilitate a sense of presence and connection to the surrounding environment as a reflection of ourselves. By combining sensory input from my surroundings with contextual knowledge and imagined realities, I traverse a sense of place theoretically and experientially to question and explore our experience of space, both its limitations and its possibilities.