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Oliver Durcan is a London based
artist who makes traditional portrait
paintings and places them in
conceptual setups. His paintings
have visual reference to pre-1900
painting, particularly portraiture and
are made with traditional techniques.
They act as ‘tools’ as they cannot be
unbound from their association to
historical painting and Oliver uses
this implication to form more
complex artworks.

He places his paintings into
collective installations, allowing
them to encounter his lens based,
sculptural or other contradictory
types of artwork. This is done in an
attempt to evoke the importance of
the values and pre-associations we
have with realism in contemporary
and traditional media. The ongoing
possibilities of constructing different
installations with the same portraits
also proposes ideas about
contemporary identity and how it
can be endlessly modified and
re-contextualised. There is an
attempt to change or disturb the art
object from convention in order to
alter the portrayed subject.

His studio is in the 'Limehouse Art
Foundation' studios in Bow


Details
Zone II
(Part of Divided Entry (Digital Void), 2013)
Oil on Board
(h)110 x (w)70cm

Exhibited In
UEL Degree Show, UEL, 2013
Free Range, Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, 2013
/ (1 of 1)

Details
Oil on Board, LED Monitor, Wooden Structure
(h)220 x (w)80 x (d)30 cm

Summary
This piece was initially inspired by double-sided, 14th Century altarpieces found in the National Gallery, particularly in the way a single narrative could be made into a two-step process. It looks at the sculptural and structural effects of joining different media (painting and film) in order to modify or change the original context of a single artwork. There is also extended intent in the figurative elements that begin in the painting, and follow through to the sculptural support and digital film. By portraying the figure with traditional painting methods yet also with modern technological means, the piece intends to trigger alternate ways of seeing the same subject encouraging spectators to reflect on the differences.

Divided Entry (Digital Void), continues along the narrative of digital identity and its relationship with human identity. By combining both film (virtual) and painting (physical) into one figurative structure, the piece intends to act as an imposing simulation of a life form, one that is recognised via both the digital and the real and through its bodily relation to the spectator.

Exhibited In
UEL Degree Show, UEL, 2013
Free Range, Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, 2013
/ (1 of 1)

Details
Zone I
(Part of Removal, 2013)
Oil on Board
(h)110 x (w)70cm

Exhibited In
UEL Degree Show, UEL, 2013
/ (1 of 1)

Details
1x Inkjet Photo-Print mounted on board, 1x Oil on board, Satin Glass

Summary
Removal is about the preconceptions we have of any artwork before we see it; that being the media and context it is made in. For example, one would look at a picture in a newspaper in a different context to seeing it in someone’s personal photo album. The same goes for looking at two identical artworks – one, which has been painted, and one which is a photograph – they are both looked from different perspectives.

Removal is made up of one painting and one photograph which both give the illusion of an identical portrait, but by placing satin glass infront, it is unclear which is which. As a reflection of the rising digital culture, the work also relates to disconnecting from human reality and our newfound containment within digital reality.

Exhibited In
UEL Degree Show, UEL, 2013
Hix Art Award, Cock 'n' Bull Gallery, 2013


Details
Introspection
Double Diptych
Oil on Board, C-Type Photographic Prints
(h)120 x (w)160cm

Summary
‘Introspection’ was made for ‘Road to 2012: Facing East’, an exhibition by the National Portrait Gallery which looked at how local communities where effected by the journey to the Olympic games. These two works covered two swimmers from Newham Swimming Club, aged 15 and 16 and both in one of the most aspiring positions in the world as the Olympic excitement put their sport into new and much more serious perspective. Introspection uses painting as a means of acting as a ‘vision’ of what both swimmers could become. Being in a position where their swimming futures became a potential reality as opposed to an imagination.

The combination of photography and painting uses peoples knowledge and associations with both mediums to place each illusion into separate frameworks, yet in the boundaries of an overarching concept. Photography has a purpose to document a reality; to tell the truth whereas figurative, traditional painting is an approximation, a creation and is attached to the ideas of achievement, importance and pride in the subject. The paintings then, act as creations of both the swimmers’ minds of what they could become.

Exhibited In
Road to 2012 w. NPG & BT, Four Corners Gallery, 2012
Royal Institute of Oil Painters Awards, Mall Galleries, 2012 (painting of Kat - female swimmer)

Awards
Winsor and Newton Oil Painters Award First Prize (for painting of Kat)

Media
Feature page in Artists & Illustrators magazine May 2013 (painting of Kat)


Details
We Are Digital, 2011
Looped Video projected onto Inkjet Photo Prints
Dimensions Variable

Summary
‘We are Digital’ is about the experience of being at one with technology. Where the concept of time, place and bodily awareness vanishes and when the brain is connected with the capabilities of a computer. I and others around me termed this state of isolation; 'going into the suit' – once you’re engaged, you’re essentially in another body.

The artwork emulates how we see alternate realities and looks at the idea that although we may be physically present when engaged in digital activity, our minds are elsewhere.

Exhibited in
Surface and Presence, Richmix, 2012
Once Upon a Wintertime Festival, Hackney Downs Studios, 2011
/ (1 of 1)

Details
Joe, 2008, Oil on Card, 90 x 90cm

Ross, 2011, Oil on Board, 120 x 120cm

Igor, 2009, Spray Paint on Brick, (h)8ft x (w)4ft (approx)

Untitled, 2009, Spray Paint on Chipboard, (h)8ft x (w)4ft (approx)

Summary
This slideshow presents selected portraits from 2008-2011 that have led to newer installation based work.