Opening reception + gallery talk: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 12pm
“Demetrius Oliver works in a range of media, including performance, photography, sculpture, and installations. He uses his body and objects associated with it to give new meaning to 19th century literary figures such as Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman, whose poetry about the American landscape also provides jarring, yet insightful, understanding of inequity and oppression in 19th-century America. By incorporating the elements of performance, prose and poetry into his work, the artist decodes history as told through American literature of the 19th century. The apparently straightforward but mysterious work of Demetrius Oliver exposes the narratives that have shaped our understanding of history and invite a fresh and poetic critique of the past,” said Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston Associate Curator, Valerie Cassel Oliver. “Complex in meaning and context, Oliver’s conceptually-based work is visually eloquent in its ability to breathe new life into history and the written word.”
Oliver’s undergraduate education was at RISD and he earned his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a Core Fellow at the Glassel School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Oliver will present a solo exhibition in the VCU FAB Gallery while in residence for a week.