By Mintimer Avila |Staff Writer|
The pain and loneliness people face is often more powerful when shown rather than told.
Richard J. Oliver hopes to inspire people with his art and show how there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Oliver had the opportunity to showcase his work in a gallery show titled ‘This Too Shall Pass” on March 1, in Los Angeles at the Known Gallery.
He first began painting in Europe where he obtained his honorary degree in Fine Art from the University of West England and later earned a Masters in Fine Art at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
“This Too Shall Pass” was his second exhibition in the United States after coming over from the United Kingdom in 2013.
Oliver said, “The works I created over the past years seem to be expressing a principle response from a subconscious level to the general plight of children.”
Some of his earlier work tackled problems in his homeland as well as the struggle of trying to identify in the aftermath of the collapsing mining industry.
He had been born and raised in a mining village that began to fail and ultimately impacted the people living there.
Recently, he has shifted from expressing himself to tackling more universal topics such as humanitarian and social problems.
A recurring theme in, “This Too Shall Pass” was the depiction of children in tragic situations that are forced to put up with the decaying and corrupt world around them.
“His art shows you how society makes children grow up way too fast,” said student Jeanette Evans.
Student Michael Muñoz said, “His style is unique because it changes how people see and perceive art. It’s also darker than other art that I have seen.”
The Coyote Chronicle had the opportunity to ask Oliver several questions regarding his work.
Coyote Chronicle: Has becoming a father changed the way you work or create art?
Oliver: Of course. Initially, my passion toward my work was fueled by a new anxiety to protect my family. My paintings often reflected my impotence to protect in the face of a poisoned human condition with a glutinous and selfish ignorance. But I found myself just adding to the hysteria by focusing my attention and energy on and against this ignorance. More often these days I find that compassion and understanding actually helps both myself and others more than taking a stance or fighting against something. My work has become less a reflection of how bad things are and more a celebration of the beauty and wonder of life and creation. I choose to surround myself with images and feelings of joy and wish to express these to others. I have faith that this direction will be far more effective in guiding and awakening mankind to love and compassion and only then will my previous anxieties and concerns naturally and harmoniously fall into order.
CC: What do you hope people will take from “This Too Shall Pass”?
O: The title of the show is a quote from ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle. The quote was part of an ancient Sufi story. The feeling behind the statement represents the transition I am currently going through in my life. I hope the paintings in my show express the value of living harmoniously in the present, the only access point to life, love and joy. I hope it acts as a sign post or crutch to those on their journey to awakening, and inspires an authentic realization of peace, poise, health, happiness and love. I also hope it conveys the message from the Sufi story on which a ring was inscribed with This Too Shall Pass: ‘Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. That way, you will always be at peace.'”
CC: How do you approach and prepare for a new piece of art?
O: I have to go completely out of my mind and come to my senses to begin to channel a clear and open flow direct from within. It is almost transcendental in practice. I take my guidance entirely from within and have to have a very quiet and receptive mind in order to hear the often subtle but sometimes prolific inspiration. Much like the ‘eureka’ moments that scientists often experience outside of the lab when their bodies and minds are at rest, I too find my inspiration growing and coming forth from behind mind rather than in my very limited conscious thought. I will exercise to burn excess physical energy then meditate in gratitude and eventually become very present, aware, complete, and quiet. I will sit in this silence, in alert anticipation, blissfully waiting for nothing in particular and allow my natural mind to receive wisdom from inner intuition.
“This Too Shall Pass” will be on display until March 15 and is sure to give attendees a deeper look into the way we live and how eventually, everything passes.
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