In 2010, Oletha DeVane was struggling to resolve a painting when she glanced at a pile of decorative items she had been intending to throw away. She was inspired.
“I decided I would use some artificial sunflowers on what I considered a failed work,” she says. “I hadn’t worked on oil painting for years, and wanted to get over the preciousness of the medium."
Her frustration lay in the flatness of the painting’s surface (“I wanted to create the sensation of a visual vortex”), and the addition of the discarded flowers was exactly what the painting needed to pop.
It now showed the vortex she sought.
The potency of using unorthodox art materials stuck with Oletha. A succession of works expanding on this practice followed in subsequent years.
In 2020, 10 years after completing Homage to Van Gogh, she produced Earthly Realm.
In it she created the image of a heavenly garden in part by incorporating items typically viewed as expendable.
A broken picture frame.
Homage to Van Gogh 2010; 50"w x 50"h x 2"d; oil and fabric on canvas (photo courtesy of the artist)
Earthly Realm 2020, 36”w x 39”h x 3”d ; wood, beads, acrylic & glass (photo by Mitro Hood)
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