Independent, New York, 2014

Basel 2015
Vilma Gold
Oliver Osborne Independent, New York, 2014 Installation view The imagery and cartoons for this presentation include burglary and breakage, linking to thoughts about images being shared or possessed, reused or recycled, to how found imagery is fractured from its source to be rethought elsewhere. One of the paintings, “1”, 2014 with its collaged image of decoration and domesticity, reminds us of how the found image becomes domesticated, or rethought, in its new location. Decoration also seems to reference Osborne’s practice at large. How something quick and easy, when attached to an otherwise abstract surface, becomes a way of completely changing the identity of what is in front of you. Again, it highlights the idea of speed, how decoration adds a superficial yet crucial layer. The skin-like surfaces of Osborne’s abstract canvases are both deep and shallow just as the apparently easy and more lo-fi collage. Sometimes puzzled, at other times struggling or surprised, the cartoon figures become metaphors for the act of looking. Perhaps they propose a subject position, and one at the whim of different moods and pressures, while Osborne’s backgrounds, whether abstract or figurative, propose something more consistent. Osborne is interested in clarity and straightforwardness. This holds not only for the pared down lines of the cartoons used, but also whether presenting individual forms or deciding on the very modes of painting employed, there is a will at work to lay something out as clearly as possible. Which is the driver: foreground or background, the slow or the flip? How do these qualities and assumptions effect how something is deciphered? Incongruous combinations demand fresh attention and Osborne’s paintings openly offer up the mechanisms comprising the orthodoxy of legibility.