Edward Cella Art & Architecture is presenting an exhibition of new paintings by Patti Oleon. This is the San Francisco-based artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and includes meticulously rendered oil paintings depicting interiors.
Upon receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013, Oleon traveled to Budapest, Prague, Venice, Berlin and Istanbul to photograph grand spaces rich in history, and devoid of human presence, such as theaters and museums. Working from multiple views of the same location, Oleon then re-constructs these places using Photoshop to alter light, transparency, color and focus. She then brings these composite images to the studio where she precisely translates the image in oil, counting Flemish painters and Germanic medieval works among her technical influences.
Viewers are presented with environments that appear startling in their verisimilitude, but are in truth heavily manipulated. Oleon states: “It is comfortable, soothing to know things are solid, that everyone experiences the same. But there is a sense of something subtly disturbing, either the light seems to be not quite right (perhaps it is too much the same on each side – as the light is identical when the image is mirrored), etc. and this could not exist in reality.” The architectural and natural facts give-way to a fractured reality with disorienting impossibilities, prompting the viewer to question how reality is perceived.
Patti Oleon’s realist paintings marry the conceptual with an undeniable technical prowess. Light serves as the entry point into Oleon’s un-peopled places. Each painting first begins as a digital photo taken by the artist, which is then transformed and reworked on the computer. Some images are mirrored, while others, more subtlety play out as ghostly echoes of shadow and form.
These sometimes haunting, always powerful, images are then executed in refined and expert brushwork in oil on panel. What remains is a fictitious reality of a once-inhabited space that engages the viewer to question reality over artifice.
Patti Oleon (b. 1954, St. Louis) received both her BA and MFA from UCLA from which she graduated summa cum laude. Oleon has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (twice), the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, Fulbright/DAAD Fellowship, Ford Foundation Grant, and an Ingram Merrill Foundation Grant. She has exhibited at institutions such as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Zimmer Children’s Museum/Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art.