Narrative Drift: Recent Works by David Olivant


Narrative Drift: Recent Works by David Olivant

Humboldt State University First Street Gallery is pleased to present Narrative Drift: Recent Works by David Olivant, on exhibit from February 1st through March 6th, 2011. This show will feature mixed media, two-dimensional and three-dimensional, new works by the artist David Olivant.  His work, which is fueled by mysticism and theoretical ideas of the unconscious, challenges traditional definitions of visual art. The artist’s fusion of bas-relief sculptures with vibrant pastel drawings create compelling and intriguing compositions.  His work portrays dramatic figures of people, animals and sometimes, mythic creatures, situated in dream-like landscapes and interior settings, evoking visceral emotional responses while revealing the broad spectrum of the human condition. 

David Olivant is an artist who possesses a particular skill for capturing fleeting images and emotions floating within humanity’s collective consciousness. His artwork engages the viewer in careful scrutiny of all the details that emerge from his pieces. His concepts are not visibly complete, which leaves viewers questioning, longing for more. Similar to dreaming, his work has layers of content that are deeper than we initially perceive. His work encourages the viewer to use their own imagination to provide meaning to the images before them. His approach has a flexible nature, so that we as viewers may have a more personal, introspective experience of the content.  One can sense in his work the feeling of excited discovery, which he experienced while creating and interacting with his art. 

"I use the interface between the illusory forms of the two dimensional picture surface and the sculptural forms that interact with it as the fulcrum for exploring the apparent attempts of archetypal figures to transcend their status as mental or illusory images," says Olivant. "It is my dream, possibly never to be realized, that the creation of such self-aware autonomous personalities, initially born from my own unconscious, might in its turn generate new worlds as each of these personalities appear to investigate his or her own unconscious and dream a new existence into being."

Born in Watford, England, Olivant received a B.A. from Falmouth School of Art in England and an M.A. in painting from the Royal College of Art, London. Olivant has been exhibiting his work worldwide for more than 20 years. His artwork is collected by various museums and art institutions internationally and he has been featured in numerous publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Art in America. Currently, he is a professor of art at California State University, Stanislaus.

Narrative Drift: Recent Works by David Olivant
will be on exhibit from February 1st through March 6th. An opening reception for the artist will be held at HSU First Street Gallery on Saturday, February 5, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday noon to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 422 First Street, Eureka, California. Admission is free.  Those planning group tours are encouraged to call ahead at 707-443-6363. To learn more, visit or link to the gallery’s Facebook icon in the menu on the left.


On David Olivant             David Olivant – Open Ended                         On David Olivant’s Formal Development
by Emily Covey                  by Courtney Cross and Jorden Goodspeed       by Melissa Barrett and Logan Bengston


Points of InterestNight and Day

Immaculate Misconception    Heartstrings


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