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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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Jeanne NIkolai Olivieri

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artist bio

Jeanne Nikolai Olivieri, a Milwaukee artist, works in watercolor, acrylics and mixed media. A third generation artist, her exposure to the art world began as a youngster. She sold her first work at age 14, and has been active in art since that time.
Nikolai Olivieri studied Art and Spanish at Carroll University, and has a Masters in Teaching from Cardinal Stritch University. Her deep interest in other languages and cultures has lead to frequent travel and study abroad. This exposure has influenced her work, which frequently reflects cultural connections and contrasts. Infrastructure, architecture, clothing, people and nature are all rich subject matter for her art.
Nikolai Olivieri is currently focusing on the cables, wires, power lines and infrastructures that connect and support us. Division of space, unusual perspectives, and brilliant colors give the often-overlooked subject matter warmth, power, and life. This work reflects her relationship to her surroundings, and is inspired not only by Wisconsin but Vietnam, Guatemala, Panama, and Brazil based on recent travel.
According to the artist, watercolor “is fascinating because of its many facets and often-unpredictable nature which require moment-to-moment creativity. Whatever the medium, I use vivid pigments, and paint with discipline, abandon, spontaneity and precision, depending on my feelings and surroundings. There is nothing timid about my palette, and I enjoy taking risks.” In addition, she states: “I enjoy working in multiple mediums, and my most recent paintings of transmission towers as part of our changing landscape reflect my desire to challenge myself in terms of subject matter and materials.”
Jeanne exhibits at a variety of galleries and locations throughout Wisconsin and beyond, and has had work accepted at a number of juried shows. Her work can be seen in both private and corporate collections. Her studio/gallery is located in the Marshall Building and is open to the public the third Friday of every month from 5:00 to 9:00 in the evening, and by appointment.

artist statement

The buzzing sound of cicadas that echoed in my ears as a child was the beginning of a certain fascination. I believed the sound was generated by the power lines that divided the sky above me, sure that they were passing along some urgent message or giving commands of an important nature. Assigning life to inanimate wires became part of my everyday play. That fascination has persisted as I continue to study the tangled webs of wires that decorate the sky, forming patterns and geometrical shapes. The monoliths supporting the wires develop personalities as they form an essential part of our urban landscape. They are powerful, strong connectors, or weakened elderly leaners, struggling against time to continue their mission, or perhaps a strong couple, facing the elements.

My current body of work focuses on the cables, wires, power lines and infrastructures that connect and support us. Division of space, unusual perspectives, and brilliant colors give the often-overlooked subject matter warmth, power, and life. I call the work “Cabled Together” to reflect both how the cables connects us and how they are sometimes cobbled together in what appears to be a haphazard manner.

The most recent paintings of transmission towers as part of our changing landscape reflect my desire to challenge myself in terms of subject matter and materials. To continue to push my boundaries I work in multiple mediums.
I find watercolor fascinating because of its many facets and often-unpredictable nature that require moment-to-moment creativity, but I also use acrylics and any other mediums that give me the desired effect. Whatever the medium, I use vivid pigments, and paint with discipline, abandon, spontaneity and precision, depending on my feelings and surroundings. There is nothing timid about my palette, and I enjoy taking risks.