James Olley



James Olley: In Motion
March 26 – May 8, 2010
Opening reception: Friday, March 26, 6-8PM

Kasia Kay Art Projects is pleased to present In Motion, James Olley’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

In Motion will display new work from the Toronto based artist that showcases his sustained interest in the exploration of perspective, scale, and the life of urban environments and their inhabitants. Olley contemplates and develops sites that engage the idea that urban spaces are unique, organic, pulsating, and evolving; constantly adapting and developing in accordance with individual needs and cultural movements. The painted figures serve as a vehicle for psychological investigation: Olley materializes how he thinks his figures would inhabit their embellished environments. The new works can be read as portraits that deconstruct the performance of everyday life. The evocative facial expressions and, often intentionally, mismatched environments provoke a sense of anxiety in the viewer. The portraits, achieved through heavy impasto and an aggressive brushstroke, amplify our recognition of the constantly shifting states of mind that dictate contemporary existence.

The majority of Olley’s work shares a common interest in the fluidity of and potential for motion in paint.  His work osculates between abstraction and figuration, invoking movement and tension. His vibrant depictions of the interaction between urban dwellers and their surroundings represent a state of flux that parallels the emotional state of postmodern existence. The images of banal contemporary life depicted in his paintings, from suburban children playing at their homes, to a homeless man on the street, are intended as documents of and reflections on contemporary North American society.

James Olley received his MFA from the University of Waterloo in 2008 after completing his BFA at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2004. Since graduating he has had a number of solo shows in galleries primarily in Toronto, and has been included group shows, since 2002, throughout Ontario and Nova Scotia. Most recently, Olley has been awarded the Emerging Artist Grant and Exhibition Assistance Grant from the Ontario Arts Council, in addition to the Vermont Studio Center Residency. His work has been showcased at contemporary art fairs, including Pulse New York and Miami.