Friday, July 18, 2008

Kermit Oliver & Les Cheyennes For Hermes

I believe that I have mentioned before that Kermit Oliver is my absolute favorite artist. Sometimes I find myself discovering a whole new appreciation for a piece that I have had for awhile, quite simply by getting it out and wearing it again.
Recently this happened for me with Mr. Oliver's "Les Cheyennes". The scarf here is titled "Plumes de L'Ouest". (Supposedly the name was changed due to complaints registered by the Native American Nation for which the original piece was named) I will always think of the design as Les Cheyennes.
When I first viewed the works of Mr. Oliver I did not know anything really about the artist as a person. (Who he was, where he came from...) I just knew that I was incredibly drawn to his work. The use of light, the deeply personal administration of each portrayal. Every character, every animal depicted has a unique personality that seems to speak from the piece. There is always a serene, quiet animation going on. Color abounds so that you are drawn in to notice the uniqueness of every stroke.
I was fortunate enough to acquire a copy of "Notes from a Child's Odyssey: The Art of Kermit Oliver". All families have their oral traditions, colorful stories handed down through the generations of ancestors who struggled to carve out their own existence so that we might have the futures we have today. I feel fortunate to have been given a glimpse into the colorful ancestral past of Mr. Oliver. From the courageous figure of Jesse Oliver (Kermit Oliver's Grandfather) who drowned while helping a fellow rancher move cattle to safety from an approaching storm. To Katherine Oliver (Kermit Oliver's Mother) who strictly raised her four sons with values and morals. While also giving her time and energy to civic needs within her community. Participating, and volunteering in organizations to preserve and enhance the community for future generations.
Peter Marzio, Director of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts writes in the forward to "Notes from a Child's Odyssey..."
"Kermit Oliver is a realist who shows us a world we have never seen..."
And what a world it is! I find it so easy to simply get lost in the designs he has done for Hermes. I explore each piece and with each exploration I discover something new in the journey. Deeper and deeper I am drawn into that world each time, and always so gratful for the gift of this view.
And that was how it was again while wearing Cheyennes recently. The quite and proud Native stands there with his beautiful mount, and faithful dog who glances out possibly looking for one of those rabbits that Mr. Oliver and his brother chased as young boys. Here in this quiet place so richly full of color and teaming with life.

No comments: