History

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

  • Sentimental, Copro Gallery May 2009
  • Ghosts & Martyrs, Copro Gallery, August 2008
  • Bittersweet, Gallery 1988 San Francisco, CA February 2008
  • The Instigators Trifecta Gallery, Las Vegas, NV March 2007
  • Parasitic Haze Copro Nason Gallery, Los Angeles, CA August 2007
  • The Accomplices Bluebottle Gallery, Seattle, WA January 2006
  • The Scavengers Orbit Gallery, Edgewater, NJ, September 2005
  • The Bitter Breed. Angry Fairy Gallery, Portland, OR April 2005.
  • Cadaverous Mob. Blue Ruin Gallery, Pittsburg, PA January 2005.
  • The Czar of Bizarre and Strange Girls (concurrent solo shows with Johnny Meah and Kym O’Donnell) 2002. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL.
  • Violent Violets October 2000. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Bewitching January 2000. Art of Cocktails: In association with the Tampa Museum of Art
  • Touch 1999. Performing Arts Center, Tampa, FL
  • I Had Only One Desire… 1998-1999. Art & Java, Ybor City, FL
  • Figure 8 1998. The Rubb, Ybor City, FL
  • Pictorial Discourse 1997. Centre Gallery, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Selected Invitational Exhibitions:

  • Monsters & Misfits (with Brandt Peters & Chris Ryniak)Tomenosueke Folk Art Museum, Japan, April 2011
  • Phantasmagoria (with Chet Zar, Travis Louie, & Brandt Peters), Galerie Yves Laroche, Montreal
  • Living Between Worlds (with Brandt Peters) Gallery 1988, Los Angeles, CA April 2010
  • 4 person show, Opera Gallery, NY December 2009
  • Youngblood, Opera Gallery, NY Fall 2008 Second Hand Smoke and Mirrors: 2 Artist Show (with Brandt Peters) L’Autre Galerie, Montreal, Quebec. Spring 2007
  • Pop Surrealism Group Show Oklahoma City Arts Center, April 2007
  • Elevation: Inaugural Group Show Limited Addiction Gallery, Denver, CO. February 2007
  • Operation Fragmentation BOMA, Columbus, OH, December 2006
  • Street camp- group show, L’Autre Galerie, Montreal, QC June 2006
  • Silent Stalkers-Circus Posterus Exhibition Wootini Gallery Chapel Hill, NC April 2006
  • Triamese, Thinkspace, Los Angeles, CA, March 2006
  • Chubby Bunny, Gallery Nucleus, Los Angeles, CA February 2006
  • SHO time (3 artist exhibition), The Alcove Gallery, Atlanta, GA, February 2006
  • Cosmic Cocktail, DC Gallery Denver, CO, December 2005
  • Little Big Fat- Group Exhibition, Magpie Gallery, San Diego, CA, December 2005
  • Parallel Universe/Art Basel (Curated by Franceso LoCastro) Miami, FL, December 2005
  • Group Exhibition, Dark Night Gallery, Santa Ana, CA October 2005
  • A Sweet Kiss Goodnight: Circus Posterus Exhibition Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL, Nov 2005
  • Group Exhibition (Curated by Franceso LoCastro) Galleryhouse Miami, FL, November 2005
  • Werewolf Bongo Party- DVA Gallery, Chicago, IL, October 2005
  • Dark and Stormy- Andenken Gallery, Denver, CO, October 2005
  • The Mood of Gothic (in conjunction with Territory Magazine Volume 4 Release)
  • OBR Publications, Paris, France, October 2005
  • The Silent Ones (2 Artist Show with Brandt Peters), Art Star, Philadelphia, PA, October 2005
  • Circus Punk Exhibition, Tokyo Toy Room, New York, NY, September 2005
  • We Heart Chickens Gallery 1988, Los Angeles, CA, August 2005
  • Group Exhibtion, George Billis Gallery Los Angeles, CA, August 2005
  • 3 Ring Circus, The Outsiders Art Gallery, Cornwall Bridge, CT, July 2005
  • Group Exhibition, Copro Nason, Los Angeles, CA, June 2005
  • Itinerant Misfits (2 person show) Matthews Fine Art Gallery, May 2005
  • Built For Speed. l’Autre Galerie. Montreal, Quebec, March 2005
  • Pop vs. Soda. Rocketworld Gallery, San Francisco, Ca, April 2005
  • Valentine’s Variety Show. Gallery 1988. Los Angeles, CA, February 2005
  • Eye of the Illuminati. Track 16 Gallery. Los Angeles, CA, February 2005
  • Cannibal Flower. Copro Nason, Culver City, CA, January 2005
  • Art Star. Plush Gallery, Dallas, TX December 2004
  • Tiki Show. 12 Midnite, Vancouver, BC December 2004
  • Winter Salon. Matthews Fine Art Gallery, Tampa, FL December 2004
  • Carry-On. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL December 2004
  • Kids in the Fall. G-Spot Gallery, Baltimore, MD September 2004
  • Squeaky Donut, Jealous Monkey. Skeleton Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM October 2004
  • Last Exit to Dreamland. An Exhibition of Artist Couples: Kathie Olivas & Brandt Elling Peters, Jim Houser & Rebecca Westcott, Liz McGrath & Morgan Slade, Lynn & John Whipple, and Plankton Art. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL. June 11-July 11, 2004
  • Sweet Dreams for Strange Bedfellows. Kathie Olivas, Brandt Elling Peters, and Michael Peters. Skeleton Art Gallery. Santa Fe, NM. March 2004
  • Big Men in Little Cars. Tin Man Alley, Philadelphia, PA. January 2004
  • The Haunted Dollhouse. Curated by Liz McGrath. Copro Nason Gallery, Culver City, CA. October 2003
  • Innuendo. Kathie Olivas,Brandt Peters, Karen Peters, and Michael Peters. The Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL. May 2003.
  • Uncommercial Art by Commercial Artists. La Luz De Jesus, Los Angeles, CA. March-April 2003
  • Clean Monsters, Dirty Children (with Brandt Elling Peters and Plankton Art)2002. Tin Man Alley, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 100 Flat 2002. C-Pop Gallery, Detroit, MI
  • Toys 2002. Space 1300, Cleveland, OH
  • Urban Voodoo 2002, Mars Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • Selections from the Permanent collection 2002. Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
  • Anime House 2002. Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
  • The Circus Show 2002. C Pop Gallery, Detroit, MI
  • Detour 2002. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • 4th Annual Valentine Peepshow 2002. HPFA, Tampa, FL Medicophilia 2002. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Total Absence/ Total Presence 2002. C Pop Gallery, Detroit, MI
  • Art Beth El Festival 2002. Temple Beth El, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Toys in Babeland 2002. Octagon Arts Center, Clearwater, FL
  • Medicoplilia 2002. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Group Exhibition 2001. Reed Gallery, Atlanta, GA
  • Winter Salon 2001. HPFA Tampa, FL
  • No Show 2001. Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
  • 50/50 2001, C Pop Gallery, Detroit, MI
  • Book Art 2001. Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL
  • United (across the) States 2001, Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Toys in Babeland: Peters Family Exhibition 2001, Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Belligerent Dreams: Collaborative Exhibition 2001, Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • H2O 2001 The Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Starscape 2001 Baltimore, MD
  • The Really Big Show 2001 Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
  • Visitations 2001 The G-Spot, Baltimore, MD
  • Odessey 2001 Fusion Gallery, St. Petersberg, FL
  • A Woman’s Place (3-woman exhibition) 2001 The Arts Center, St. Petersberg, FL
  • Art on the Barbie 2000 Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
  • Hyperactive 2000 Vitale Bros., Pinellas Park, FL
  • Holiday Show 2000 The Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Pop(text)ure Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Undercurrent/ Overview IV 2000. Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
  • Private Places 2000. Covivant, Tampa, FL
  • Ready to Wear 2000. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Cerebral Arts Festival II 2000. Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Second Annual Valentine Peep Show 2000. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL; Gallery On Florida
  • Simple Gifts 1999. Gallery on Florida, Tampa, FL
  • Holiday Show Invitational 1999. Arts on the Park, Lakeland, FL
  • Portfolio Exhibition 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Gallery Night 1999. Sponsored by the American Heart Association. Morton Plant/ Mease Pavillion, Clearwater, FL
  • Made In Tampa 1999. In association with the Tampa Gallery Association’s Eat Your Art Out gallery hop Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • He Said, She Said 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • The Avant Hop: A Multi-gallery Group Exhibition 1999. Gallery on Florida, Tampa, FL; New Heights Gallery, Tampa, FL; Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL; Sulphur Springs Theatre, Tampa, FL; Image Brewery, Valrico, FL
  • Summer Spice 1999. Studio Gallery on Azeele, Tampa, FL
  • Co- 1999. Szilage Gallery @ 145, St. Petersburg, FL; Nolita Gallery and Prints Plus, New York, NY Valentine Peep Show 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Turn the Page: An Artist Book Introspective 1998. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
  • sHOTEL(L) 1998. Alternative exhibition directed by jsg boggs. Tahitian Inn, Tampa, FL
  • Women of Florida Printmaker’s Exhibition 1998. Hillsborough Community College, Ybor City, FL
  • The Body: Drawing and Photography Exhibition 1997. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Selected Juried Exhibitions:

  • All Florida Juried Exhibition 2001. Salt Creek Galleries, St. Petersburg, FL
  • International Art Showcase 2001. Alternative exhibition. Art Crowd Magazine New York, NY.
  • Summer Spice II 2000. Juror: Ken Rollins. Studio Gallery on Azeele, Tampa, FL
  • Millenium Exhibition 2000. Juror: Rocky Bridges. Arts On the Park, Lakeland, FL
  • Annual Juried Exhibition 2000. Jurors: The Art Guys. Contemporary Art Museum at USF, Tampa, FL
  • The Devil Made Me Do It 1999. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • All Florida Show 1999. Centre Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Annual Florida Printmaker’s Juried Exhibition 1998. Frizzell Cultural Centre Gallery, Ft. Myers, FL
  • All Florida Show 1998. Centre Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Annual Juried Exhibition 1997. CAM at USF, Tampa, FL
  • Object(ives) Juried sculpture exhibition 1997. Juror: Steve Barry. Centre Gallery, Tampa, FL

Exhibitions Curated:

  • Last Exit to Dreamland. An Exhibition of Artist Couples: Kathie Olivas & Brandt Elling Peters, Jim Houser & Rebecca Westcott, Liz McGrath & Morgan Slade, Lynn & John Whipple, and Plankton Art. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL. June 11-July 11, 2004
  • Innuendo. Kathie Olivas,Brandt Peters, Karen Peters, and Michael Peters. The Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL. May 2003.
  • Detour 2002. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Winter Salon 2001 Group Exhibition, HPFA, Tampa, FL
  • Belligerent Dreams: Bask Collaboratives 2001, HPFA, Tampa, FL
  • Influx: Works by Kathryn Jill Johnson, Roxie Veasey, Hector Del Campo, and Joanna Coke 2001. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Confessions: Works by Steven Verriest, Perri Neri, Leslie Elsasser, and Jack Barrett 2001. HPFA, Tampa, FL
  • Momente: Thomas Murray Solo Exhibition 2001. HPFA, Tampa, FL
  • 3rd Annual Valenitne Peepshow 2001. HPFA, Tampa, FL
  • The Orange Blossom Queen and Other Visions of Florida Madness 2001. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Trimutations 2001. HPFA, Tampa, FL
  • Winter Salon 2001. HPFA, Tampa, FL
  • Contemporary Realism 2000. Co-curated with Tim Waad, Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Jack Barrett Solo Exhibition 2000. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Pop(text)ure 2000. Co-curated with Jim Beeler Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Lost and Found 2000. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL.
  • Thomas Murray solo exhibition: Last Chance Texaco 2000. Hyde park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Hyde Park Fine Arts 2nd Annual Juried Exhibition 2000. Juror: Adrienne Golub. Tampa, FL
  • Private Places 2000. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • Dreams 2000. Cat Thompson and Barbara Beeler. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Ready to Wear 2000. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Three Faces 2000. Kathryn Jill Johnson, Roxie Veasey, and Angela Dickerson. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL.
  • Bob Dorsey solo exhibition: Original Child 2000. Solo exhibition at Covivant Gallery in Tampa, FL
  • Joe Griffith solo exhibition: Utility Haze 2000.Solo exhibition at Covivant Gallery in Tampa, FL.
  • Valentine Peep Show 2000: Two gallery exhibition, co-curated by Cat Thompson. Gallery on Florida, Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL.
  • Jack Barrett New Works 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL.
  • Y2K Survival Sale and Auction 1999. Covivant Gallery and Studios, Tampa, FL.
  • Portfolio Exhibition 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL.
  • Made In Tampa 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts.
  • He Said, She Said 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL.
  • The Avant Hop 1999. Co-curated with Angela Dickerson. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Gallery on Florida, New Heights, Image Brewery, Sulphur Springs Theatre.
  • Best of Tampa 1999. Juried Contemporary Art Exhibition. First annual juried exhibition featuring works selected by jurors Debra Jo Radke and Jim Beeler. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL
  • Kis, Diaz, Portieles 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL,
  • Carols Kis Solo Exhibition 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts, Tampa, FL.
  • Valentine Peep Show 1999. Hyde Park Fine Arts.

Collaborations:

  • 2000-20001: Bask, Brandt Elling Peters, Michael Peters, Cat Thompson
  • 2000: Christine Galas Private Places Installation. Covivant Gallery, Tampa, FL
  • 1999-2001: Joe Griffith/ Experimental Skeleton (Visual Arts Book Project)
  • 1999: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; producer Evan Cutter and correspondent Vance Degeneres
  • 1995: Maurizio Cattelan and Jade Dellinger; through the visiting artist lecture series at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum.

Awards/ honors:

  • 2002: “Best Princess of Pop” Weekly Planet “Best of the Bay 2002″
  • 2001: Honorable Mention: All Florida Juried Exhibition, Salt Creek Galleries, St. Petersburg, FL
  • 2001: Tampa Museum of Art commissions artist Richard Heipp to create series of images based on works from the permanent collection, including “Violet Violet” (see Stolen)
  • 2000: “Best Most Prolific Curator” Weekly Planet “Best of the Bay 2000″
  • 2000: Recent Acquisition: Permanent Collection , Tampa Museum of Art
  • 2000: Selected Artist: Undercurrent/ Overview IV, Tampa Museum of Art
  • 2000: Voted “Best Emerging Artist” by Cultural Affairs Magazine, Tampa, FL
  • 2000: Voted “Best Gallery Curator” by Cultural Affairs Magazine, Tampa, FL
  • 2000: Faculty/ Staff Award, University of South Florida
  • 2000: “Award of Excellence” (1st place) Millenium Exhibition, Arts On the Park, Lakeland, FL
  • 1999: Voted “Reader’s Choice: Best Artist” Weekly Planet’s “Best of the Bay”
  • 1997: Faculty/ Staff Award, University of South Florida
  • 1997: Graphicstudio Award in sculpture
    Reviews/ Press:

    Freaks R Us

    Cartoons with teeth in Hyde Park

    BY MARY MULHERN 5-18-05

    Would this painting match my couch? This question, cynically maligned in the art world, seems to me a fair opening query in response to the paintings of Kathie Olivas and Brandt Peters currently on view at Matthews Fine Art Gallery. Or more to the point, who will buy this cartoon grotesquery?

    Their paintings are scaled to fit any living room wall, and priced affordably. The carnival imagery is recognizable, the colors bright. You could hang one over the couch knowing that while watching television, your back would be turned to the monstrous yet cuddly portraits and their disturbing associations.

    Both artists work in a familiar style – the baby doll, stuffed toy, cartoon, creep show school – rooted in pop art, surrealism, illustration and animation. Names that the artists find inadequate but are used to describe the style are “Lowbrow,” “Underground” and “Pop-Surrealism.” I suggest Puerealism, although it’s not so catchy.

    Weeble-ish animals and children populate Olivas’ canvases. These overstuffed bunnies, boys and girls may have started out cute, but trussed up in muzzles and dunce caps, limbless in droopy-footed pajamas, mouths zipped or bolted shut, they are ultimately repulsive. The characters’ utter repression – speechless and immobilized – does not manage to inspire sympathy. They are players in a nursery freak show engendering voyeuristic guilt, suggesting fetishism and a dangerous hint of abuse. The boys and girls’ ineffectual victimhood raises the specter of sadomasochism, yet their weirdness leaves the viewer an out. We don’t want to get it. We’ll just look through the peephole at the solitary confinement cell of the subconscious. This is brave territory. Olivas illustrates ancient taboos in a seductive and childlike style. You may not want to go there but it is an oddly familiar place.

    Peters’ muscular and active illustrations retain a cartoon quality that provides more levity and storytelling. While anxiety pervades his pictures in the weaponry of tanks, swords and hooks, the characters remain on the animated page rather than invading your psyche. Peters’ macho men and pin-up girls retain the humor and exaggeration of classic comic illustration.

    Olivas and Peters met at Ybor City’s goth club The Castle four years ago. Peters, the son of two artists, grew up in Los Angeles and has worked in the film industry as an illustrator and animator. Olivas received her MFA from USF and managed a gallery where she showed and collaborated with a group of “Lowbrow” Tampa artists. The two were living and working together within a month of meeting, and married within a year.

    Not only do they live and make art together, but they have day jobs creating sets and props for the same theme park design company. The connection between their art predated their meeting, but has deepened in the work they have created since.

    Recurrent characters, disguises and props are shared by the two. The storytelling aspect of their commercial work spills into the paintings, in their resemblance to flipbooks or animation cells. Their work, similar in illustrative technique and pop culture references, has fed on their partnership; a number of works in the current show are collaborations.

    Olivas explains, “Our characters are alter egos for us. We have also created characters that represent each other in a way.” Peters’ homage to his wife is “Miss Content,” a girl with a Minnie Mouse hair bow and shoes (on eight motion-blurred legs) with a hook for one hand and parrot puppet in the other. “The boy figure in my new work is based on Brandt,” she says. The boy’s head is cut in layers, revealing bird’s eggs, or topped with a dunce cap and propellered beanie. Bolted plates or zippers silence him.

    Peters and Olivas both use nostalgia to draw the viewer into their work. Brandt’s cartoon style, and both artists’ toys and characters are of the 1930s era, rather than the 1980s of their own childhood, giving the nostalgia a remove of several generations. The vintage imagery escapes sentimentality through the artists’ torturous transformations. Yet kitsch acts as a barrier to their true experience and expression of contemporary culture – we’re looking at a past that is not directly theirs.

    The “Underground” label is hardly accurate at a time when cartoon imagery and pop culture permeate the International art scene and the commercial print, video and film market. This kind of edgy work is filling the galleries of New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo. Even cutesy anime is showing a darker side in the work of young Japanese artists. But an Olivas puppy or a Peters bat punctures the retro-pop label with a humor that is pitch black.
    Matthews Gallery owner Albert Burruezo tells me the works are selling. We’ll see if Tampa Bay can offer enough of a market, and enough edge, to keep these artists.

    MARY.MULHERN@WEEKLYPLANET.COM

    Artists Lay Bare Their Troubled Souls In New Exhibit

    By ESTHER HAMMER

    Tampa Tribune

    Published: May 5, 2005

    SOUTH TAMPA – Husband- and-wife artists Brandt Elling Peters and Kathie Olivas are wanderers who never feel as if they fit in.

    At least according to the title of their new show.

    “Itinerant Misfits,” which opens Friday at Matthews Fine Art Gallery, 119 S. Hyde Park Ave., is a collection of troubled souls and lost children.
    “We’re both focusing on these traveling figures that are kind of self-portraits,” Olivas said. “Like they’re not really comfortable in their own skin.”

    Olivas’ portion of the exhibit contains paintings from her “Misery Children” series, based on her vision of a post- apocalyptic era.

    “It has to do with our idea of cuteness,” she said. “We think of children as being cute and innocent.”

    In her works, children are often scary.

    “The surviving children would have to take on a different persona in order to stay alive,” she said.

    A boy in a bunny costume sports a necklace of iron teeth. Another child peers out innocently from a baby blue shark costume, mouth open, big teeth glaringly white.

    They portray the irony for which Olivas is known.

    “It kind of serves as an alter- ego,” she said. “It’s about taking on a different persona in order to appear stronger.”

    Everyone does it, her husband said.
    “We are all kind of chronically wandering around seeking social acceptance,” Peters said. “It becomes more evident every day in the work environment and the social environment.”

    For Peters, the title of the show came first.

    “Kathie and I were able to come to a common place because we fell in love with the title of the show,” he said.

    Like his wife, Peters explores and unveils alter-egos, but his imagery comes from carnival and circus characters.

    “As a kid, my dad would take me to the traveling freak shows on Venice Beach,” he said. “People would go and gawk, but my dad would walk right up to these grotesquely mutilated people and strike up a conversation with them – `Where are you from?’ things like that. And it kind of brought it down to the personal. That had a very strong effect on me.”

    His works often are a personal statement.

    In “The Sword Handler,” a bunny perched atop a sword is about overcoming fear.
    “The bunny typically represents fear and the sword is a defense mechanism,” Peters said.

    Olivas and Peters work together during the day.

    “We sometimes base our characters on each other,” Olivas said. “I have a character that is based on Brandt as a little boy and he has the same for me. But we have very different styles, and as far as content, we have very different ideas.”

    Pittsburgh City Paper: Art Preview

    2/17/2005 Kid You Not

    Writer: LISSA BRENNAN

    Fucked-up toddlers and their equally maladjusted companion animals have been established as fertile ground for maverick visual artists. U.S. low-brow heroes like Mark Ryden plop dreamy cherubim into butcher shops, while the Japanese Superflat movement spearheaded by Takashi Murakami brings wide-eyed hellions out of anime and into high culture, particularly through Yoshitomo Nara’s grimacing schoolgirls and floppy dogs.

    The corruption of the precious continues with Cadaverous Mob, paintings and sculptures by Kathie Olivas at Blue Ruin Gallery. In this playground of pudgy tots, bewildered dogs and irate cats, Olivas seeks to undermine the idea of “cute,” taking hallmarks of the term and forcing us to rethink our associations.

    Her brood, human and non-human alike, is adorned with party frocks, conical headpieces — maybe birthday hats and maybe dunce caps — and beanies with whirring propellers. The fun ends there. Amid the trappings of games and gaiety, there’s darkness. Mouths are obliterated behind bear traps or vicious zippers, legs have been replaced by striped-stockinged, blade-like appendages, and instruments of torture supplant dolls and firetrucks.

    It requires some contemplation to register just how many things are wrong with this picture, and once it starts to sink in it drops like lead. Conjoined girls grasping candy in hooks and teary boys sniffling beneath pig noses are brought to something like life in the discolored tints of a favorite storybook left too often in the sun. The portraits isolate their subjects, the only background suggesting the faded and meaningless drop of a third-grade school picture.

    Olivas’ children are isolated by more than lack of context, and this is what separates them from the hordes of spooky children haunting gallery walls. Ryden’s kiddies, baptized in blood or wreaking their own carnage, maintain self-possession. Nara’s imps frown at the onlooker with middle digit directed skyward. The bad seeds that have followed are proud and rebellious, in control.

    Olivas’ children are desperate and pleading; and though often they seem caught in the midst of a punishment that’s only going to get worse (or else in the devices of a mother suffering from Munchausen-by-proxy syndrome), what nastiness they’re up to is not their own. Shown from shoulders up, their absence of visible limbs doesn’t weaken the overwhelming sense that hands are tightly bound behind backs. Rather than stepping into the frame, they’ve been placed there — manipulated, dressed up and manhandled into the spotlight by demented stage mothers. Drained of vitality, their eyes are soulless or remorseful, dead coals or unstamped coins, and their postures are not their own. But they’d never disobey and release them.

    Activity and intent are reserved for animals, whether a bird that cocks a knowing eye, a dog snarling within his Elizabethean ruff, or a cat smoldering beneath a pom-pom-topped bonnet. (If you’ve ever dressed your own housepets in baby clothing, you’ll note Olivas captures the menacing glower of hatred a feline rendered impotent by Sunday best possesses; if not, well, give it a shot sometime.)

    “Cute” is in the eye of the beholder, as is “mad sick,” and the twain bash headfirst with the ferocity of mate-starved rams. Olivas’ progeny are each and both, captivating without cloying and not so gruesome as to make you back away, treated with dignity and respect by the artist even if not by the invisible puppet-masters that have set their poses. She’s been kind enough to leave a good deal up to the viewer, while still providing plenty of fodder for the imagination. A look at her Web site reveals that what we see here is just a portion of the entire mob of Misery Children; hopefully we’ll get to see more.

    The ‘Mob’ mentality

    Pittsburgh Tribune

    By The Tribune-Review

    Thursday, February 10, 2005

    Are children really as innocent and harmless as they might first appear? In the world of Kathie Olivas, the answer clearly is “No!”

    Working in oils on wood or canvas, Tampa-based Olivas presents a surreal world of disarmingly “aware” little people and she has brought that world to Pittsburgh with her solo-show “Cadaverous Mob” on view at Blue Ruin Gallery.

    Clearly children, but evoking a sense of adult knowledge and vices, her paintings of quirky little kids are designed to put you on edge and reflect an environment of isolation, fear and uncertainty in what she calls a “satirical look at how fear affects our sense of reality.”

    The exhibit runs through March 5. Blue Ruin Gallery is on the South Side at 1019 E. Carson St. Gallery hours are from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays.

    BEST PRINCESS OF POP

    Weekly Planet- Best of the Bay 2002

    Kathie Olivas
    Mention the name Kathie Olivas and three things come to mind.

    a) She holds the Planet title for Best Most Prolific Curator;
    b) She’s got her artistic antenna tuned in to every artist under 30 (give or take a couple a decades);
    c) Now she’s far more than the Bay area’s art scene diva.

    Olivas is our choice as first Princess of Pop. Local spin has it that Olivas brings a unique, independent vision to Tampa Bay’s fertile pop scene, where, truth be told, local young ‘uns with a penchant for pop make art that looks too much like everybody else’s stuff. But our Kathie is anything but a cookie-cutter type. How about her little parody figures wearing cutesy Olivas couture? Who would even dare to appropriate Ms. Olivas’ bloomer girls? Check out her unbeatable strategy: She dons real or fictional personas and then creates fresh visual commentaries on issues such as women, identity, eroticism and female inferiority. She departed her Hyde Park Fine Arts curating nest, but look for her to continue organizing shows there and at Covivant. What else is in her future? Watch her art travel the national pop circuit.