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Bobbie Oliver | Found Objects

March 7 - April 21, 2024

High Noon is pleased to present Bobbie Oliver’s third exhibition with the gallery, Found Objects. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full color, limited edition catalog with an essay by Nancy Princenthal.


In this new body of bold, structured paintings, Oliver anchors abstract forms to found representational imagery inspired by her observations of New York City with an assertive approach to color after many years of working mostly monochromatically. Connecting to the city’s engineered environment using mossy grays, slate blues, and other neutral grounds, the surfaces she evokes are like walls, frescoes, or roads, which become catalysts for the intermingling of vivid fluorescents and sooty blacks.


In Found Objects, Oliver sets up shallow arenas that confine the viewer’s perspective to an abstracted urban composite of scaly storefront facades and peeks between alleyways, where spaces become shapes inside and between vignettes. Gestural squiggles of tar paint that delineate patched roadways are particularly interesting to her. The solidity of the forms on concrete relates to her process of painting and its physicality— excavating, working and reworking history, and reassembling what’s discovered.


The contrast between rough and poetic, functional and romantic, is central to Oliver’s philosophy. Decisions are born from the work itself, and her editing process makes up the narrative of the painting. Residual marks left from forms finding their resting places and the attention paid to how the paint sits on the canvas results in an active space that breathes much like New York’s living streets and the stories told on their weathered surfaces.


This analogy serves as a through line in the exhibition and holds up amongst Oliver’s shifts in scale from the slab-like 72” x 48” paintings to the smaller 16” x 16” fragments which feel like crops of the larger works. Scumbles and washes of black obscure and merge with fluorescent forms like veils of carbon particles, reinforcing associations of well-trodden concrete. Almost garishly bright colors recalling construction sites, neon signage, or flaked curbsides are applied in gestures resembling cuneiform and allow pavement-like grounds to peer through, becoming artifacts of utilitarian actions seen every day.


For Oliver, connecting her practice to emotion, physicality, and history through a series of steps and missteps leads to an illumination and reckoning with painting and the human condition. Found Objects is a love letter to the city and the extraordinary moments that exist within the mundane.


— Nathan Brutzman


Bobbie Oliver lives and works in New York and Rock Valley, NY. She has exhibited in New York at Hionas Gallery, Feature Gallery, Showroom, Valentine Gallery as well as solo shows in Toronto at the Olga Korper Gallery, in Los Angeles at the Jancar Gallery and The George Gallery in Laguna Beach. She has received awards from The Canada Council, The Ontario Arts Council, The New York State Council for the Arts and the Pollock Krasner Foundation.


Born in Canada, she spent 10 years in England working and studying in her formative years. After moving to New York, she worked for Isamu Noguchi and La Monte Young and then taught painting at Princeton University, School of Visual Arts, NY, Banff School of Arts, Canada and The Rhode Island School of Design where she taught painting and drawing and served as Head of the Painting Department. She also taught at the National College of Art in Lahore, Pakistan and the Rhode Island School of Design in Rome, Italy.

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