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Benjamin Oliver – OXYOPIA – The Ashton Memorial, Lancaster

May 18, 2014 @ 10:00 am - June 28, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

Photo - Jenny Firth-Cozens
OXYOPIA at The Ashton Memorial, Lancaster

From Sunday 18th May – 26th July, Lancaster based artist and filmmaker Benjamin Oliver brings you a collection of his latest works under the OXYOPIA banner at the Ashton Memorial Gallery, Lancaster.

Benjamin Oliver OXYOPIA at The Ashton Memorial  02In his first ever solo exhibition, Oliver presents a series of artworks that trace a specific understanding the artist has of oxyopia. Oxyopia is defined as an extremely heightened acuteness of the eyesight, resulting from increased sensibility of the retina”. Oliver relates this to an environment where paint combines with light and sound to create a systematically womb-like and immersive experience in the upper hall.
First, there are the paintings. Framed in faded Victorian splendour, they are large and imposing, progressive graphical artworks. Butterflies, insects, animal and human forms are fused together in playful and surreal landscapes. In the centre of the hall stands a pedestal with instructions… Follow these to be faced with an animatronic butterfly flying in a jar and the sudden realisation that you’ve been co-erced into playing a small part in its demise.

Around the balcony, spinning cardboard circles reveal projections of continually adapting animations on the domed walls. A huge centre screen displays a 3D butterfly caught in an endless loop. Projectors strobe, images float and spin. Professor Brainstorm may have a few patents-pending on some of the technology used here but the effect is solid. Oliver backs up his old-school techniques:

“It has to be seen to be believed! I developed the spinning cardboard animation technique VJing in nightclubs, back in Leeds in the 90’s.The cardboard blocks out light from the projectors at exactly 23 frames per second, creating one of the most visually mystifying, yet beautifully simple effects that I’ve still never seen bettered. It is a super-cool, high-octane illusion that will leave one scratching one’s head, hard.”

Finishing touches are delivered by Electronica artist and producer, Rob Antony: www.soundcloud.com/rob-a/

Antony says: “The music has been custom-made to adapt to the shape of the hall. We recorded a lot of the sounds you will hear in Morecambe Bay, Lancaster town centre and Williamson Park. We then played them back inside the dome and recorded the results. I later added synthesisers and beats. It gives me great pleasure hear it come together like this in the gallery.”

The audio is delivered using a seven-speaker Dolby surround system and adds another dimension to the art that can’t be pinned down. Stare at a painting for a minute and suddenly you’re lost in a B Movie of your own making. I would recommend including smelling salts in the picnic hamper.

OXYOPIA at the Ashton Memorial Gallery, Lancaster from Sunday May 18 through June 28, 2014. Further details can be found on the Lancaster council’s website:  http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/parks-and-open-spaces/williamson-park/events-news/

For a closer look at Benjamin Oliver’s work please visit his website – http://oxyopia.co.uk/

You can contact him here

Mobile – 077745 19782


May 18, 2014 @ 10:00 am
June 28, 2014 @ 5:00 pm
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Benjamin Oliver
07774 519782


The Ashton Memorial
Williamson Park
Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 1UX United Kingdom
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01524 33318

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