Natalie Oliphant is an important eco-artist who lives in Canada. She has an extraordinary talent for transforming body forms and mannequins and other discarded items into new life-affirming sculptures. Destined for obscurity in landfills that harm our environment found objects become mixed media works of art that resonate with symbolic and metaphorical references. They will forever serve as seminal contributions to the language of contemporary art made with recycled materials.
Natalie adorns all sides of her mannequins with tactile surfaces using modelling paste, gesso and found objects. At first glance her exquisite composites made with utilitarian parts — such as coins, chains, fabric, buttons and other humble items — appeal to us for their aesthetic value alone; however, we learn they also ignite powerful emotional reactions.
Natalie unearths a treasure trove of poignant messages with profound impact. Her highly-charged sculptures represent a unique archetype and expand our conscious awareness about the environment, female issues, relationships, diversity, and other complexities about our life choices and experiences.
Objects such as scissors, buckles, and bolts that she adheres to the sensual torsos arouse associations with abrasion, separation, pain and loss. Items such as zippers and locks may signify feelings about unresolved issues. Thoughts of unfulfilled desires, unspoken words, and unfinished deeds from the past that we may have buried and locked away rise to the surface.
We identify with Natalie’s forms because she resuscitates discarded objects and memorabilia and converts inanimate objects into timeless, universal stories. Her works of art have pulsating hearts and the power to heal. As we succumb to their messages we confront our human frailties, vulnerabilities, flaws and fears. Her sculptures serve as catalysts to embark upon our quest for personal growth and deepen the process of positive transformation.
Visit Natalie Oliphant’s website natalieoliphantart.ca
Read an article that features Natalie in “Creative and Eco-Conscious Artists Who Use Recycled Materials”.
This Art Review was written by Renee Phillips, Director and Curator, Manhattan Arts International and The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS, New York, NY
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