Project Description



Joe Olney

Painter, Mixed Media Artist

“Draw three overlapping circles. In one circle, put drawing. In the next, painting. And in the third, textiles. Where all three circles overlap is where I like to work. Using a syringe, I squeeze out strings of acrylic paint like a length of paracord. I weave and crosshatch these winding “strings” in and out of patches of pattern and color that blanket crags of joint compound. What results are colorful, dense figurative abstractions, where surface topography shifts as the image is viewed in the halfround, challenging the illusional space. Within this context, I’m trying to understand the porous boundaries between different categories of art making and the different ways in which we see.

Inspiration for my work comes from the patterns and textures (both literal and metaphorical) that I’ve come across as a nature lover, geologist, Army combat engineer, meditator, sober alcoholic, and Iraq War veteran. As I paint, I remember the long stretch of camouflage netting from my Fort Hood days; the calm, rhythmic pace of a series of counted breaths; the web of overlapping lines on a hand-drawn predeployment load card; or the Swisscheese polygons of mapped shear zones found in billion-year-old outcrops that stud the Blue Ridge. And as I do, I think about how the countless interrelationships shared by all things call to challenge that which is supposedly defined by a firm edge.”