The relationship between abstract and primitive art is well known but that doesn’t mean all the stories have already been told. Olivia Wilber (last seen here) had a rare appearance as an art vendor at Creative Grove. She admitted to being jet lagged, having just returned from a week long International Art Festival in South Africa. Luckily, participating in a mediation even that was part of the Friday Festivities enabled Olivia to cope with time-change distress.
The similarities between abstract and primitive were readily apparent. Olivia has gained fame as a video painter, creating paintings that are as much performance art and visual art. She projects video on to a surface, then paints that surface. A Video painting was alongside a piece of tribal-art inspired art, which was shaped like a Zulu shield but was actually a skateboard, she said.
She uses only natural pigments, which she purchases from a San Francisco Specialty Arts Store, which is why her colors are so lush and more evocative of primal feelings and urges that seem to resist verbalization.
Another abstract work, with a suggestive figure in white surrounded by moody, darker shades, was alongside the table. The background seemed to be an apartment, flowered wall paper, melting alongside tendrils that resembled veins or nerve strands. This more overtly emotional painting more clearly contained her twin abstract and primitive influences within one frame.
She was showing her “woodwork” at Creative Grove: all the paintings were on wood panels. Why wood? It’s not like her current phase is now wood, rather they were the easiest to display. She explained the paintings were heavy, thus more resistant to the wind, gusting off the Hudson, squeezed between buildings and often wreaking havoc at Plaza events.