The Urban Frenzy of Olive Ayhens

Olive Ayhens, Urban Frenzy, 2010, watercolor and ink on paper 16" x 12.5" (Image Courtesy Adam Baumgold Gallery, Click to Enlarge)

Labor Day is behind us and school is in session, which means there are gallery shows galore opening this month. If you’re in New York and looking for an anecdote to all of the 9/11-themed shows currently on view, you should check out Olive Ayhens show “New York Drawings” at Adam Baumgold Gallery on the Upper East Side.

Ayhens’ neo-expressionist pen and ink and watercolor drawings are a knock-out: textured, original, and deliberately unruly. Working on location, Ayhens draws the lively center of New York City, personifying its skyscrapers in a style that is vigorous and playful, as well as idiosyncratic.

Olive Ayhens, Sweet Sky, 2007, watercolor and ink on paper 16" x 12.5" (Image Courtesy Adam Baumgold Gallery, Click to Enlarge)

 

Olive Ayhens, Wall Street Facing West, 2011, watercolor and ink on paper 18" x 12.5" (Image Courtesy Adam Baumgold Gallery, Click to Enlarge)

 

Olive Ayhens, Wall Street Facing West, 2011, watercolor and ink on paper 16" x 12.5" (Image Courtesy Adam Baumgold Gallery, Click to Enlarge)

In her newest series of stylized cityscapes, Ayhens combines fine ink lines with layered areas of watercolor. By incorporating multiple focal points into her images, she suspends viewers high above the topsy-turvy, urban landscape.

Included in the Adam Baumgold exhibition are views showing the September 11 Monument in the process of construction. These two drawings show different phases of the process of building the memorial. Lower Manhattan has played a special role in Ayhens’ art work over the years. In 1999 she received a World Views residency at the former World Trade Center through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. “The experience of observing New York City from a highly elevated viewpoint,” Ayhens explains, was “similar to studying an organism under a microscope.”

Olive Ayhens, New York City Goes On, 2011, watercolor and ink on paper 12.5" x 18" (Image Courtesy Adam Baumgold Gallery, Click to Enlarge)

 

Olive Ayhens, Lower Manhattan, 2011, watercolor and ink on paper 12.5" x 18.5" (Image Courtesy Adam Baumgold Gallery, Click to Enlarge)

 

Olive Ayhens, SoHo Neighborhood, 2011, watercolor and ink on paper 12.5" x 16" (Image Courtesy Adam Baumgold Gallery, Click to Enlarge)

Olive Ayhens has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Pollack-Krasner Awards, and the Adolph and Ester Gottlieb Foundation individual support grant. Her work has been published in Harper’s Magazine and is included in numerous public and private collections. She has also been an artist in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ucross, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Millay Colony.

Olive Ayhens show “New York Drawings” is on view at the Adam Baumgold Gallery now through October 8th. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. An online preview of the exhibition can be seen at the Adam Baumgold Gallery wesbite. You can learn more about Ayhens work here.

Olive Ayhens, Urban Leap, watercolor and ink on paper 16" x 12.5" (Image Courtesy Adam Baumgold Gallery, Click to Enlarge)

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By | 2016-11-11T21:55:31+00:00 09.11.11|Greatest Hits, Images|Comments Off on The Urban Frenzy of Olive Ayhens

About the Author:

I’ve spent almost 20 years helping thousands of successful artists of all disciplines and working to make the arts more accessible. (One friend likes to call me “the arts enabler.”) From 1999-2012 I worked at The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s oldest artist colony, but I've also done time at an arts magazine, a library, an art museum, and a raptor rehabilitation center. In May of 2012 I left MacDowell to pursue writing, speaking, curating, and creative projects full-time. In 2015 I was named a “Top 100 Artist, Innovator, Creative” by Origin magazine. I've appeared as an arts and culture commentator on New Hampshire Public Radio, and in 2017 I was the recipient of the Wampler Art Professorship at James Madison University. I am the founder of the Gwarlingo Salon series, which connects artists like DJ Spooky with rural audiences in the Monadnock region. In 2017 my collaborator Corwin Levi and I will publish our first book, Mirror Mirrored, which combines Grimms’ fairy tales with vintage illustration remixes and the work of contemporary artists like Kiki Smith, Carrie Mae Weems, and Amy Cutler. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but have called New Hampshire home since 1999. My studio is located in the historic, mill village of Harrisville. I miss fried okra, the early southern spring, and restaurants that stay open past 9:00 p.m., but rural life agrees with me. In New Hampshire I can see the stars, go kayaking or snowshoeing, watch bald eagles fish in the lake, and focus on my creative work in silence. I no longer have to worry about traffic jams; deer, wild turkeys, and frost heaves are the primary road hazards here. Although I live in the country, I’m fortunate enough to be part of a vibrant arts community that extends beyond this small New England village. The quiet days are punctuated by regular travel and frequent visits to museums, theaters, readings, arts events, lectures, and open studios around the country. (You can read my full CV here.) Thanks for visiting Gwarlingo. I hope you'll be in touch.