Polish-born and New York-based artist Olek is currently exhibiting at Jonathan Levine Gallery for a new solo show entitled The End is Far. After a world tour from Brazil to the US through Poland and London, the artist is coming back to New York City to present her new crochet/knit installations.
“Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present The End is Far, a series of new works, a site-specific installation and live performance by Polish-born, New York-based artist Olek, in what will be her second solo exhibition at the gallery. Known for her bold work and vivacious persona, Olek’s ever-expanding interventions involve covering a multitude of people and objects in camouflage-patterned crochet including: bicycles, cars, shopping carts, construction vehicles and prominent public art sculptures such as Wall Street’s Charging Bull; Alamo (Astor Place cube) and Gato de Botero in Barcelona.
This exhibition follows what proved to be a very eventful year for Olek. In 2011, she was placed on house arrest after a dispute with an aggressive male patron escalated at a London bar. Subsequently, despite creatively and financially stifling circumstances, Olek found herself motivated by the experience, determined to cover legal expenses and fight for her freedom. Granted permission to leave the UK between court appearances, 2012 became the most prolific year of the artist’s career to date, as she took on numerous international projects, public installations and commissions. She was part of the 40 Under 40: Craft Futures exhibition at the Smithsonian, for which her entire crocheted studio apartment was exhibited. During the rest of her travels, Olek collaborated with women around the world, in Brazil, Hong Kong and Poland, learning new techniques and experimenting with different materials.
The End is Far features new multi-layered crocheted sculptures and panels inspired by the events that transpired last year. With the addition of finely crocheted lace doilies, metallic gold ribbon and a new approach to typography, themes of freedom, justice, feminine power and strength are conveyed through subject matter such as boxing gloves, skulls, skeletons, sickles and horseshoes. An installation room containing a dining table set with china, overflowing fruit bowls, wine bottles and goblets will serve as an isolated environment for Olek’s crochet-covered female performers during the opening reception.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Olek was born Agata Oleksiak in 1978 in Poland. In 2000, she received a BA in Cultural Studies from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland and relocated to New York City, where she is currently based. Olek’s work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and public spaces worldwide and featured in numerous publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Newsweek/Daily Beast, Village Voice, Artinfo, PBS, CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC. Olek is the recipient of the Ruth Mellon Award for sculpture in 2004, In Situ Artaq award (France) in 2011, and a grant in 2011 from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for performance in public space. Olek’s residencies have included Sculpture Space in 2005, Instituto Sacatar (Brazil) in 2009 and AAI-LES in 2010. In 2008, Olek was the winner of the Apex Art competition, which aired on PBS. In 2010, the artist was commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art for a one-day interactive performance installation. In 2012, Olek was part of the 40 Under 40: Craft Futures exhibition at the Smithsonian, for which her entire crocheted studio apartment was exhibited.”