Fernando de la Rosa, 2014


Perry Oliver - Tradition and Modernity

This innovative exhibition of Oliver presents us with a new way to see his work within a tradition that adheres to other ways of seeing Art. In his long trajectory as a sculptor, which began in 1999 after thirty years dedicated to printmaking, in which medium he received all prizes and honors in accordance with the high quality of his work, we were accustomed to see his work within the parameters of abstract art, although a symbolic theater is detected as a reflection of human relationships : the solitude of a figure, the dialogue or tension between shapes that share a space as if they are human beings, the curve and the angle that combine to create a sexual tension, but all within a strictly non-figurative vocabulary.

To be modern does not consist in making something completely new; it is to take something that already exists and present it in a contemporary idiom. T.S. Elliot, the American poet who lived in London and created the modern poetry in the English language, said that the artist ought to be aware of tradition because what the artist does is to reflect the tradition and at the same time affect the way in which we see that Past. Every new work of art is connected to a Past and lets us see It in another way. With his series of 17 steel sculptures that relate to the cross and becomes, in addition, a procession with reference to the Holy Week and Its deep roots in Spain, in this case even more so in the tradition of Andalucia, Oliver presents this tradition in a modern vocabulary. Making use of minimalism, a vocabulary free of anecdotes, of blood and of wounds, we can see the same procession and its symbolic significance. His sculptures, even the smallest ones, assume a sense of the monumental and permit the viewer to recreate in a non-figurative language the tradition that has always been there.

Relevant in the present exhibtion is the way by which the installation makes the spectator confront two processions and a group of figures separated from them. On the ground floor the sculptures titled : “The cross of the perfect couple”, “Toward cross”,   the pair that configures “The open cross”, and the “Lateral crosses” form a crescendo  that continues with “He, his cross, dramatically laid out as a procession that culminates with the vertical and dramatic “She, her cross”, tall and erect upon a white background. In the scenography  presented on the first floor the artist  presents us with a sequence of four sculptures with the name “He, his cross”, all of them about half a meter high, culminating with a sculpture which offers a dramatic contrast, being very tall and erect at one meter seventy-four centimeters high and has the name “She, her cross”. In addition, the artist shows us another group of relatively small sculptures that seem to be an assembly of somewhat perplexed observers.

It is important to bear in mind that all the sculptures involved in this theatrical and challenging selection are made of painted steel, that the artist also uses color in his sculpture, which in turn makes reference to the color he used in printmaking which creates a more powerful coherence in his work and aesthetic since its outset. And therefore as individual works, including ones  not in the exhibition, we can now see that they all have their own unique strength and fulfillment as independent objects full of harmony, equilibrium, and color.

Aníbal Alfaro.

Perry Oliver Duende” catalogue, fragment.

I try to organize my time, my work, my things and my feelings like a theater performance for an audience of one --- myself ---- which fortunately fails. Everything that I make and the people whom I know are affected by my methodical mania. Nonetheless, in retrospect, I have become aware that very little has been organized to make a significant or lasting difference in my life. Instead, when on stage, it has been my spontaneous response to an impulse that has made the difference in how I live and what I make.