Richard J Oliver
Born in Pontypridd, Wales in 1975. Holds an honorary degree in Fine Art from the University Of West of England and undertaking a Masters in Fine Art UWIC Wales.
Currently paints and resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Solo exhibitions include the Known Gallery, Hollywood, Los Angeles. Museum of Modern Art, Wales. Attic Gallery, Swansea and Rhondda Heritage park permanent Mural.Group exhibitions I participated in:
1993 - Circle Gallery, Pontypridd
1997 - University of the West of England, Bristol
1998 - Anthony Hepworth Fine Art Gallery, Bath
1998 - Art98, British Contemporary Art Fair, London
1998 - Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales
1998 - University of Glamorgan Purchase Prize Award
1998-99 - The Tabernacle Art Competition, awarded. Museum of Modern Art, Wales
1999 - "Trials and Tribulations" Saint Davids Hall, Cardiff Wales
2000 - Uniaeth Identity Touring Exhibition
2011-12 - "Everything but the Kitschen Sync" La Luz De Jesus, Hollywood, Los Angeles
2012 - Welsh Artist of the Year, Saint Davids Hall, Cardiff
2011 - "Sesame Street" Known Gallery, Hollywood, Los Angeles
2013 - "Art Collectors Starter Kit" Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, Los Angeles
2013 - "Shades" Corey Helford Gallery, Culver CIty, Los Angeles
2013 - "Curiosities" Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco
2013 - "Chronicles - Tales of the Sea" Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco
1997 - "n. aside"
1998 - "Out of the Mouths"
1999 - "Tableaux Vivants"
2000-04 - Attic Gallery, Swansea, Wales
2013 - "When hope turns to ashes" Known Gallery, Los Angeles
Paintings currently hang in museums and on public display throughout the UK and in the homes of private clients worldwide.
Richard J Oliver was born and raised in Wales, United Kingdom, studied Fine Art at the University of the West of England and undertook his Masters at UWIC in Wales. In his time between studies, Oliver built his reputation, beginning in Wales and later gaining recognition throughout the UK. His work has been included in numerous Europeagroup shows, which then segued into solo shows, including an exhibition at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in Wales.
Oliver's early work focused on his homeland, particularly the struggle of its youth trying to find identity in the aftermath of the local mining industry's demise. His work often showcased the skeleton landscapes of mining villages in the Welsh valleys juxtaposed with contemporary youth.
His latest works explore more universal subjects, from environmental issues to humanitarian and social problems that are close to his heart.
Since becoming a parent, Oliver has explored the anxieties of raising a child in an environment on the brink of disaster. The images touch on the tragedy of children forced to survive in an apocalyptic environment and violently fend for themselves. He transforms the natural instincts of fatherhood and family protection into striking visuals. More recently, portraits have crossed into the dark, brooding world of Grimm's fairytales and surrealistic subjects that help convey the emotion and tragedy of our world's children. Oliver works closely with many charities, most recently donating proceeds to Dreamlovecure.org and City of Hope's Department of Pediatrics.
"My early work was a response to the difficulty of self identification in a post industrial Wales. It reflected the problem of self value and worth in a new non self sufficient country where every corner and horizon echoed the past yet every TV and computer pointed forward. The youth of my generation were born into the void left over in a post industrial country and patriotic pride was hard to come by. My paintings were born out of the rebellion against complacency and apathy that was inbred being brought up in a very grey poor town. My art has been and continues to be a report on culture and society and shows the more honest side of these crutches that our humanity relies on. I believe therefore my work has more in common with the folk songwriters and is born of a very old tradition of story telling and prose from Celtic mythology such as the Mabinogion. Some comparisons of my works have been with Irish folk songs and the political and social commentary of artists like Bob Dylan.
My current work isn't as locally subjective as it once was. I believed at one time that I could only paint about what I knew and was intimate with, which was Wales and its people. Having spent the better part of this decade traveling the world I believe now that I am qualified to speak of broader issues and paint things I have experienced, maybe not in the same way as the locals to these areas have experienced but through the eyes of a visitor and yet maintain legitimacy in my expression. The works I have completed while living in California have been quite different to my Welsh Paintings. Mainly in the way the characters relate to their surroundings. In my Welsh paintings the figures and the backgrounds are treated the same and almost meld into one another, as is the case in reality where the generations still live in the same village for centuries. In my recent works in Los Angeles the opposite is true. The figures are detached from their environment both aesthetically and physically because of the nature of the city where the majority of the population come from other places. The Los Angeles have have experienced is a cultural smorgasbord set in eclectic urban architecture.
Since the birth of my sons I have also explored ideas in my work that touch upon the anxieties of raising a child in an environment that I believe is on the brink of disaster due to the greed and ignorant over consumption of the planets resources, by us, it's exploding populace of dependents. The images touch on the tragedy of children forced to survive in an apocalyptic environment and violently fend for themselves, an idea the tears at the heart of the natural instincts of fatherhood and the impotence of family protection. More recently these portraits have crossed over into the dark brooding world of Grimm's fairytales and mythical surrealistic subjects that help carry and convey the emotion and tragedy of the children I paint."