When he’s not putting his hands to use as a carpenter, Invermere artist George Oliver documents the ongoing compromises between man and nature.
“I’m attracted to making a connection with things,” he said. “In my landscapes, there will almost always be a human element, with a structure, or something as simple as a road or hydro line.”
“It’s time to really look at our place in the world and how we’re affecting the rest of life on the planet,” he added.
Mr. Oliver began producing art for public display four years ago, but enjoyed photography and metal working before sharing his work on a wide scale.
He’s since undertaken painting lessons, and said that his artistry has snowballed. His photographs are now much less post-processed, he said, and with an overwhelming response to his work, Mr. Oliver said he’s just getting started.
“We always have that argument between conservation and exploitation, so where do you find the balance,” he questioned.
Abandoned houses and ancient automobiles are a common thread in his work, as they offer another avenue to portray nature’s coexistence with humans. Mr. Oliver searches for evidence of history behind his photographic and mixed media subjects – “the relics of our lives,” he says.
Because humans are “phenomenally successful,” he doesn’t believe that balance between nature and development has been achieved, so through his art, he often entices the viewer’s curiosity.
“We really do have to step back and ask, what are we doing?,” he said. “Is our place really to dominate and use up the planet until it’s gone?”
In his lifetime, he said he’s noticed uncomfortable amounts of human development overtaking nature, but stated his appreciation for the pure state of the Columbia River in the valley.
As a member of the Columbia Valley Arts Society, Mr. Oliver’s work has been featured at Pynelogs Cultural Centre. He said he mostly practices photography outside the valley, and one day hopes to one day visit the oil sands in Alberta as an artist.
Mr. Oliver’s work is displayed sporadically at the Pynelogs Cultural Centre. People in the valley will also be able to catch his work on display at the Towards the Centre art show at the Art Gallery of Golden in mid-January. To learn more, go to www. kickinghorseculture.ca/art-gallery-of-golden/ .