Abstract Earth Gallery

SculpturePainting & DrawingFiber and Paper

Randall Oldrieve

Artist's Statement  ::
Intensely observant, tenaciously questioning, passionately looking for truth while sensuously participating in life as creation, art flows from my heart. Cycling the back roads of Bowling Green, Ohio where waving grain breathes the sky, pedaling a serpentine road along a meandering stream, chasing clouds, rushing with the wind; I was dealving into jewelry design, investigating sculptural form and laying down expressive washes of color at the local university. Along the continuum, some 120 miles east of the pastoral surroundings of BGSU, in a zig-zag industrial gorge teeming with groaning gestural mega-mechanisms; pivoting platforms, elevating arches and straining cantilevers make way for titanic resource bearing drones echoing their diesel resonance along the concrete and steel lined river gouged into the `flats' of Cleveland, Ohio. Practicing art amidst the steel mills and tankers was one of many diverse excercises that shaped my experience at The Cleveland Institute of Art. In contrast to the clamor of this gritty side of civilization backing up in the throat of the Cuyahoga River and disgorging into Lake Erie, my younger years were spent mesmerized by the shimmering patterns of a setting sun reflecting across rippling waves on this Great Lake. In a heartbeat, the meditative rhythm can be coaxed into a pounding crescendo. The dramatic overture of a passing storm so moves the water that boulders surrender their inertia and cliffs become, at once, malleable as the coastline is rendered in breath-taking formations. From out of the blue, a waterspout captivates the imagination of a young Randy. These are some of the formative events that influences a shape or a texture or combination of materials, tethering a lifetime of art-making into a cohesive body of work. Techniques such as molten glass-working and print-making, nurtured at The Ohio State University, are critical to `how' I make art. The manner in which I was able to utilize these skills contributed to being awarded `Excellence in the Arts' upon graduation with my Bachelor of Fine Art degree. A combination of these accumulated skills also went into creating a mixed-media sculpture, "Nativity", that won the Top Sculpture Award in the 1987 Columbus Art League Show at the Columbus Museum of Art. This piece that incorporates cement and stone with blown glass, steel and wood speaks directly about the nature of `why' I make art. As with all of my work, the overall emphasis is on form and composition allowing contrasting textures and complementary elements set the stage for a dramatic presentation of an idea, mood, theme or usually, as in the case of "Nativity", a combination that stirs the imagination. My art addresses a wide range of issues, but, an overall theme of transcendence pervades. Conflict, contradiction, trials and tribulations are all a part of life; arguably essential as a counterpoint to, say, blissful harmony. My preference for working sculpturally, whether it be a relief wall piece or in the round, is due to the tremendous range of expressive potential inherent in my choice of materials and processes. Just to be able to grab something with both hands, to get physical with it, carve, scrape, sand away what isn't needed drill it nail it screw it, glue it, attack it with a chain saw! Sculpture, for me is aggressive and yet, sublime. It is a workout, physically, mentally, emotionally. A lot of spirit gets poured into each piece. Revelations happen in the process of enduring the heat of a glass furnace while rushing around, man-handling a heavy glob of molten sand on the end of a five foot rod or wielding a chainsaw or hours at a time, forcing it to do what it wasn't built to handle. Ever stretching the boundaries and inventing techniques and solutions to new situations on-the-fly, it's about getting real with the universe by getting in touch with a piece of wood or stone or some discarded piece of furniture. Last year, summer 2004, my sculpture `The Amazing Vortex with the Full Moon and the Setting Sun' won a Juror's Choice Award in the Fine Art Exhibit at the Ohio State Fair. That was a tremendous honor, but I'll tell you what; the year before that, `Time and Time Again' won the People's Choice Award and I can't tell you how much more satisfying that is for me! After all was said and done and the slew of juror’s awards and arts council awards and arts organizations awards were handed out, to have the public decide that mine was a pretty cool work of art meant the world to me. I love it when people walk up to me and the first words out of their mouth are, "I don't know much about art, but..." it makes them feel a certain way or they can envision this or that. How wonderful! That's what it's all about. On the other hand, the question I get a lot is, "What is it?" Oh well, I just say, “It is what it is. What do you see?"

Pieces by Randall Oldrieve:

* Some of these artworks may not be for sale.