The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Joshua Olivera “Palimpsest: an Image of What Once Was”

Joshua Olivera, Never Give an Inch, 2011, mixed media. Image courtesy of the artist.

May 4, 2012 – September 2, 2012

Opening Reception with artist, May 4, 2012 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Free and open to the Public.

The University of Arizona Museum of Art announces the first museum exhibition of California artist, Joshua Olivera. Olivera recently received his M.F.A. from CSU, Chico. Working mainly on panel with non-traditional materials such as wood stain and chemical interactions, Olivera explores the overlap of the past and the present. In this group of works, Palimpsest: an image of what once was, Olivera’s interest in archeology and the shadows of the past led him to create timeless works that evoke the ancient world.

The original meaning of ‘palimpsest’ refers to writing materials that are reused after earlier writing has been erased. Architects allude to ‘palimpsest’ in renovated buildings where vestiges of the earlier layout are still apparent. Olivera observes, “Architects imply palimpsest as a ghost—an image of what once was. In the built environment, this occurs somewhat often. Whenever spaces are shuffled, rebuilt, or remodeled, shadows remain. Tarred rooflines remain on the sides of a building long after the neighboring structure has been demolished; removed stairs leave a mark where the painted wall surface stopped. Dust lines remain from a relocated appliance. Ancient ruins speak volumes of their former wholeness. Palimpsests can inform us, archaeologically, of the realities of the built past.”

Olivera is an environmentalist and conservationist whose work, although abstract, is landscape-based. In this he reflects his west-coast upbringing and the legacy of San Francisco Abstract Expressionism, following in the footsteps of artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Edward Corbett, Frank Lobdell and Clyfford Still.

What sets Olivera’s work apart is a clear vision, the desire to experiment with and push the limits of materials, and a flawless sense of beauty and balance. His innovative techniques breathe life into these panel paintings. They are compelling and mysterious, jewel-like and organic.

The UAMA is pleased to give Joshua Olivera his first museum exhibition. Join UAMA in welcoming Olivera on May 4 from 5 – 7 pm for the opening of Palimpsest: an image of what once was. The opening / meet the artist reception is free and open to the public.

The exhibition will be on view until September 2, 2012.


Download the Exhibition Postcard 

Inside Tucson Business’ review of Joshua Olivera “Palimpsest: an Image of What Once Was”