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John and June Allcott Gallery: Honors Thesis Exhibition, Olivia Gone
March 29, 2021 @ 8:00 am - April 3, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
I am a multi-disciplinary artist, poet, and musician from the Midwest deeply concerned about childhood trauma and its roots. Believing it’s impossible to reach any societal reconciliation until there is a total shift in the paradigm of capitalism, my thought patterns shape visual and poetic guides to question and therefore alter its existence. I utilize found images, words, pigments, performance, object arrangement, and recording devices as tools to communicate and express my desire for reaching a new way. Being raised in poverty, I became interested in the complex and paralyzing experience of the lower-class struggle. It offered insights into the making of the capitalist and patriarchal systems which oppressed me and formed an obsession to demolish them. Though I’m responding to massive forces of evil, my work is filled with love cries and solutions for the healing of ourselves and our planet.
Seeing art as a way to alter matter, I collect energized objects— things that have a life to them but have been discarded and disregarded. By comprehending the aesthetic presence of the object’s moment in time, I can rearrange them to communicate their deeper relationship to our bodies and memory. My work builds alternative spaces to seek new dimensions and possible landscapes in which to build anew. It comes from the belly rather than a focus on the formal practices which thread themselves to the systems I’m against and imprisoned by. My art is tender anarchy, it is survival. It is informed by my own unique trauma and speaks to the entire traumatized energy of humanity. I am after a means to express, release, and reveal memories for what they are: a shared suffering under the burden of late capitalism.
“Pretty Baby” were my first words. My honors thesis project is a multimedia installation on my childhood trauma and memory. I was struck by the complexity of my first utterances, as it was such an innocent and brief vocalization and realization of beauty. My beauty was being validated by the women holding me, cooing affirming statements. All this, only moments before a childhood of crippling insecurity. The foundations of our sexuality, identity, and personhood are molded by childhood. The happenings, relationships, and environments we interact with alter our behavior. I experienced traumatic events, as we all do, and these moments left wounds on my psyche. We can learn to cope with pain, but the feelings never leave us. There is forever a small, terrified child in our bodies. A pretty baby. I interact with traumatic memories by treating art as healing ritual. A coming into understanding. An explanation. A cleanse. Cessation. Pleasure. Spells. I will fill a room with paintings, sculptures, found objects, and video played on televisions from the ’90s at the John and June Alcott Gallery with a glass wall facing the lobby. You cannot enter the gallery, instead, you are a voyeur, looking in on the pain and my pleasure of my childhood.
The gallery is currently closed to visitors. However, Hanes Art Center is open to the campus community and exhibitions can be viewed through the gallery’s glass front wall.
Image: Willy Nilly Silly Old Bear