Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Olive Ayhens new painting

Olive Ayhens is a wonderful painter and a great artist. This is a new painting called Amphibian Emergency. If you look closely you can see that inside the glass condominiums are frogs, an endangered species. They are disappearing everywhere. They are an essential part of our ecosystem. The condos are popping up everywhere in her neighborhood of Williamsburg making communities extinct also. Condos don't really create the same sense of comaraderie of street life celebrated by Jane Jacobson, The Death and Life of American Cities. Of course I am generalizing, but on my street in Seattle, I never see anyone from the condos.

Outside the window is the wasteland of urban living. Olive creates interfaces of humans and nature that call attention to our treatment of the natural environment. She also is a seductive and sensuous painter who knows how to use color and the texture of paint itself so skillfully that her content and her technique are wedded inextricably. Her love of beauty in the art work is a part of her distress about the ruin of the natural environment. Since she is currently based in NYC, she is painting that distress with an urban focus. She has also painted western streams rushing down Manhattan streets with cars floating in them, and a lumber mill and power plant set right on the Columbia River . She depicts vanishing species, birds, animals, and also vanishing trees, lost in our contemporary world.

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