Demetrius Oliver, “Orrery”

D’Amelio Terras, New York
September 8 – October 8, 2011

D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present Demetrius Oliver’s second solo gallery exhibition in New York. Throughout Oliver’s practice, artistic investigation is linked to discovery and the observation of the unknown in nature. Relying on encountered materials, Oliver uses the prosaic as a metaphor for the order of things.

For this exhibition, Oliver creates a room-sized orrery through a dense cluster of umbrellas, each one suspended in space. A predecessor to the planetarium, an orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system used to represent the relative position and motions of the sun, moon, and planets. Oliver’s radial sculptures are suspended in space, free from a sequence or narrative structure. The spokes of each umbrella carry various materials collected by the artist from his studio and home. The planetary, star-like shape of his sculptures instills an ethereality, allowing the everyday to veer towards the transcendental. With materials levitating in space, a centralized light bulb captures the orrery’s circular motion through cast shadows projected on the ceiling. Oliver’s orrery is an attempt to map out the minutia in his studio as well as provide a schema of the elements that make up the firmament. Oliver’s studio space is filled with the debris of past ideas, constantly in flux and indicative of the creative potential around us. Out of view and accompanying the sculptures are large-scale drawings that mimic photographic processes and allude to map making. Orrery continues Oliver’s contemplation of nature as both a source of wonder and speculation, and the tools we use to make sense of the night sky.

Demetrius Oliver’s previous exhibitions include: Studio Museum Harlem, New York, NY; Light Work, Syracuse, NY; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; P.S.1. MoMA, Long Island City, NY; Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA; Inman Gallery, Houston, TX. Oliver has been a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, a Core Fellow at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, a resident at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and a recipient of The Rema Hort Mann Foundation Visual Art Grant. Oliver is in numerous public collections including the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.

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