Irene Hardwicke Olivieri: Closer to Wildness
“These paintings aren’t passive objects . . . but reach rather actively into the mind, arousing the imagination into activity.” —Los Angeles Times
"A stunning monograph."—Marcia G. Yerman
Irene Hardwicke Olivieri’s enchanting, idiosyncratic, and curiously complex artworks explore the subterranean aspects of life—love and relationships, secrets and obsessions—all the while opening a window to what she calls the “mysterious workshop of nature.” In Irene Hardwicke Olivieri: Closer to Wildness
, we witness an artist infinitely inspired by the natural world. Her intricate paintings are laced with knowledge of the cougars, wood rats, caterpillars, and other animal familiars. These lovingly rendered, often-surreal beings allegorize challenges and discoveries encountered on life’s journey. Neither humans nor animals are simple portraits under Olivieri’s brush; her works explore the wildness within and without.
Carl Little’s introductory essay highlights the artist’s background and delves into her processes, motivations, and revelations. Olivieri’s brief stories offer additional insights into her paintings, drawings, and mosaics. Natural history writings, folk wisdom, and excerpts from family letters open a door into the artist’s unusual world, drawing the reader ever closer to wildness.About the ARTIST
Irene Hardwicke Olivieri was born and raised in southern Texas. An artist with the heart of a vagabond, she has lived in Brazil, Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, and Arizona, and now lives and paints on the coast of Maine. She earned her MA degree from New York University. While living in New York, Irene worked as a gardener at The Cloisters, and at The New York Botanical Garden she created drawings of neotropical palms and the insects that pollinate them. During her time living off the grid in the high desert of central Oregon, she raised caterpillars, water lilies, and succulents, and kept a dermestid beetle colony.About the AUTHOR
Carl Little is a contributor to ARTnews
, Art New England
, and other publications. His books include Edward Hopper's New England
, Winslow Homer and the Sea
, and Hero: The Paintings of Robert Bissell
. He lives and writes on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine.