DaMask, an exhibition of new work by Houston-based artist Lovie Olivia.
The exhibition features a series of large-scale paintings that depict intricate and multi-layered portraits of African American women, exploring the stigmas and entanglements associated with minority women, living with mental health disorders. The strong and the vulnerable, the beautiful and the harrowing, the overt and the mysterious; DaMask examines the simultaneous embodiments of minority women who struggle with mental health challenges. Using a modified plaster fresco technique, where pigments and ornamental design are applied to wet plaster and the surface of the work is elaborately carved into and layered upon; the paintings become a physical manifestation of what it means to mask one’s identity. On Exhibit Now thru June 13th, 2015
“This complicated and reoccurring theme has been an acute interest of mine for the past four years,” says the artist. “It has reshaped my life as I have watched family and community members suffer and perish, as a result of mental illness, depression and emotional distress. From my personal experience, I’ve witnessed that African American women have commonly been portrayed as "pillars" of their communities--resilient mothers, sisters, daughters, aunties, wives, and grandmothers who remain steadfast in the face of all adversities. While these portrayals imply that African American women have few psychological problems, the scientific literature and demographic data present a different picture. They reveal that African American women are at increased risk for psychological distress because of factors that disproportionately affect them.
About Lovie Olivia
Lovie Olivia is a native Houstonian and a visual artist who employs painting, printmaking, and installation to create her works. Although her past includes some formal artistic training, including graduating from Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, she mostly relies on her independent studies of art, cultures, music, literature and history to influence her work. She has exhibited at, Jam Gallery - Brooklyn NY, Pillow – Brooklyn NY, 36 Steps Gallery – Pittsburgh PA, The Art League Houston, Darke Gallery, GalleryM2, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Project Row Houses, and the Arthello Beck Gallery in Dallas as well as Houston Museum of African American Culture and more. Olivia’s work hangs in numerous private and public collections and her decorative interior and restorative painting applications can be found in many homes and businesses, throughout Houston. In addition to her multifaceted approach to visual art, she enjoys teaching drawing at Art League and painting at High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She continues to volunteer and collaborate with organizations like Project Row Houses, Houston Arts Alliance, Art League and Diverse Works to name a few. Olivia is also a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award 2009 and 2014 which is funded by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.