Demetrius Oliver (born 1975, Brooklyn, NY) is everywhere and nowhere in his artwork, which consists of photography, video, sculpture, and drawing. Counter to our identity-driven cultural moment, his work is anti-autobiographical and reveals little about the artist. Despite the absence of biographical particularities, however, the work is permitted with authorial intelligence. This presence-absence dichotomy is achieved in part through Oliver’s process and choice of media. Drawing, photography, and performance effortlessly commingle, causing his artworks to defy categorization, and the omission of his hand through the use of digital photography and aerosol spray make his remove physical. Like geographical formations and natural phenomena, his work appears to have happened rather than to have been made.
Demetrius Oliver received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998 and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture also in 2004. Oliver has participated in numerous residencies, including the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2004-2006), The Studio Museum, Harlem (2006), and Light Work (2009). His work has been exhibited widely, with recent solo exhibitions at the Print Center in Philadelphia (2014), D'Amelio Terras in New York (2011 and 2008), Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA (2009), and The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2006). In September 2010 Oliver completed a commission for the High Line in New York, which included a 25 by 75 foot billboard, musical performances, and stargazing. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, Art Lies, The Brooklyn Rail, Artforum, and The New York Times, among other publications.
He lives and works in Harlem, New York City.