March 26 – April 30, 2005 Reception for the artist Saturday, March 26, 5 – 8pm
Western Project is proud to present the first major exhibition of paintings by Oliver Arms. A student of the San Francisco Art Institute and current resident of Los Angeles, Arms is one of the boldest painters of his generation. Unapologetic and fierce, his paintings assault the human eye in a maelstrom of gestures and forms in oil paint. The works are repeatedly sanded and painted, heavily built up over months of labor resulting in crusted, slashed, and polished surfaces. It is the polarity of differences operating in Arms work: a cacophony of particles in heroic scale - with luxurious color, that is visceral and abrasive. His works connect to Modernist abstraction, but are conceptually anchored in the anxiety of contemporary America; epic tales of a culture swirling in visual detris, noise and activity. The paintings speak of abstract expressionism but have no passages of accidental feeling. His images parallel the Iliad – long and atmospheric; poetry that speaks of great and poisonous human drama; with layered and endless marks, claustrophobic and fertile. Arms compositions are typically in a 6 x 12 foot horizontal format, akin to landscape yet divulge something monstrous and timeless; perhaps records of social and psychic eons compressed and exploded - a vision of human victories and foils, repeating in constellations material and invisible.