March 1, 2014
Oli Sihvonen
David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Visual Art Source, 03/01/2014
Iris McLister


Oli Sihvonen
David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Visual Art Source, 03/01/2014
Iris McLister

Though longtime New Mexico resident and optical abstractionist Oli Sihvonen (1921-1991) was one of the original Taos Modernists, his high voltage, brilliantly hued work places him in a category all his own. This show’s eleven large-scale paintings, executed from 1988 to the year of his death, constitute an impressive group. From a pictorial standpoint if not a theoretical one, the artist reacted against the unrestrained and frequently angst-ridden painterly excess of the Abstract Expressionists. Whatever his incentive, Sihvonen, the New York-born son of Finnish immigrants, reveled in tautly organized layouts of color and form, employing repeated patterns and strong, sometimes garish arrangements of color. At Black Mountain College, Sihvonen was a student of Josef Albers, whose influence radiates across geometric-heavy works like "Untitled (019)." Its color-ringed central square supplants a circular portal with a hard-edged one.

Black-and-white-patterned chevrons are stacked haphazardly in "Untitled (016)," a disorienting work whose elements seem to vibrate off the canvas. Closely layered, thin strips of black and white form an ersatz pyramid in "Untitled (074)" — a pattern repeated in navy and red in the composition’s background, with yellow and turquoise in the work’s foreground. At 8 feet tall, "Mobius Mode" is especially commanding. Hypnotizing stripes of white and pale pink are interrupted by a twisting strand of narrow black-and-white lines. These dazzling, sometimes dizzying paintings buzz with energy and possibility, making them feel triumphantly contemporary.

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Associated Artist

Associated Exhibitions

  • OLI SIHVONEN In Motion, Rhythmic and Optical Paintings by Oli Sihvonen From 1988 to 1991
    January 31, 2014 - March 8, 2014

Associated News

  • January 10, 2014

  • January 31, 2014

  • March 19, 2014

  • March 1, 2014

  • January 30, 2014

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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