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February 19 2014 . 09:40pm


Opening reception: March 1, 2014 | 8-11p
On view: March 1 – 15, 2014

Known Gallery
441 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Quote from ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle

“According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency.  The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction, and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair.  A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, and he began to seek a way out.  He sent for a wise man who lived in the kingdom and was reputed and enlightened.  When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you.  Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity and wisdom into my life?  I will pay any price you ask.”
The wise man said, “I may be able to help you.  But the price is so great that your entire kingdom would not be sufficient payment for it.  Therefore it will be a gift to you if you will honor it.”  The king gave his assurances, and the wise man left.
A few weeks later, he returned and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade.  The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside.  Some letters were inscribed on the ring.  The inscription read: This, too, shall pass.  “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king.  The wise man said, “Wear this ring always.  Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription.  That way, you will always be at peace.”

Artist Statement:

“…God will not have his work manifest by cowards”. – Emerson

I have spent the past year studying the works of influential thinkers and writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ernest Holmes and I have concluded that I must trust myself.

Pure creativity will come through me if I allow it and open myself to its flow. I discovered that within me, conscious thought and forced ideas often impede my creative process and therefore I have done away with them as much as possible in the development of my methods, whilst trying to maintain a clear, focused and natural mind.

“…a perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands and predominating in all their being” – Emerson

I began to create paintings without a predetermined conscious selections of the subject matter, and instead put emphasis on my trust in my visual response to the world around me. I also allowed the conversation with the works themselves to dictate the direction, so in essence, guided by an infinite intelligence, they paint themselves, albeit by my hand.

This process now leads me to believe that my authentic subconscious is filtering through into my work. I feel the paintings and subjects are being chosen from a transcendental level of consciousness, above mind and I allow my self to honor the absolute truth and honesty of their expression.

The works I have created over the past few years, seem to be expressing a principle response from a subconscious level to the general plight of children. It appears obvious to me that my works are born of the unconscious turmoil I’ve felt, and a conscious reaction to the hurt and pain people inflict upon the innocent. My works are a manifestation of a universal plight upon an apocalyptic stage created by a diseased collective consciousness.

Since my work mainly grows itself by my hand, but with little of my mind, I have barely any thought or idea what the painting will become when I start. I allow my eyes to travel through various images with minimum judgement or prejudice until they land on something that sparks a visual reaction. I trust this response, and incorporate an interpretation of the very initial reaction into my work without any further thought. The painting then takes on a life of its own where I am simply a vessel through which being and pure creation play out their performance.

This allows me to look and analyze the final painting almost as though I had no part in making it. Often I wonder for hours where the ideas came from, or what the work means in relation to me and my experience of life. I’ve discovered the common thread in my paintings is not simply that I paint childlike figures, but it’s the context in which those characters are placed. The works are all about survival. The characters are indeed sometimes portrayed in a bad situation or condition. My intentions are not to celebrate, glamorize or beautify the horror of their condition but to depict their struggle, always with a light at the end of the tunnel. The titles of some of my first paintings still ring true in my work with the predominant elements being Hope, Survival and Continuity. The figures and characters are often escaping some sort of abuse, overcoming tragedy and loneliness in their survival and in the light of the current situation I’ve awoken into, I feel it is more important than ever to maintain my course and stay true to myself and my work in order to attempt to inspire some courage to shine consciousness onto the insanities of our human condition.”

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.

Mixed Exhibitions Worldwide including London, New York and most recently Los Angeles.

Paintings currently hang in Museums and public display throughout the UK and private clients are 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 European group 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.

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