About Oliver Plehn
The artistic universe of Oliver Plehn is populated by expressive representations of faces and human and animal bodies. Imagery of the German expressionists shaped the early childhood of this German painter and draughtsman. As a teenager, he decided two things: to be an artist and to maintain his artistic independence. For that reason, he studied painting and drawing at art schools, but also studied at university to make a living in another field.
In the early nineties, the graduate chemist and freelance translator met his future wife Paloma in Germany. He used a scholarship in quantum mechanics in Madrid to follow her back to her home town, and since then he has been living in this metropolitan centre of special artistic interest. There he continued developing artistically, building friendships with other artists like well-known ceramist Gregorio Peño, while his freelance job offered him the possibility to work professionally as an artist.
Exhibitions in Germany and Spain followed. Recently, the artist has completed two solo shows in Madrid’s Barajas International Airport with more than 30 large portraits, and an exhibition of his version of “The Passion of Christ” in the emblematic German church located in the centre of Madrid.
Oliver lives with his wife and their two daughters in the Madrid district of Carabanchel Alto.
Every picture starts an adventure. For most of my works I use canvas or paper, sometimes wood or cardboard, and combinations of oils, Gouache, watercolours, acrylics, charcoal, pencils, markers, crayons, ink, and lemon juice. The initial spark comes from real models, photos, mental images, or I just start scribbling or begin with spots of colour. With the first line or colour begins the exciting interaction between the inner or outer reality and the picture, leading to a continuous dialogue that guides my work.
I like to work fast and directly which is really dangerous in the sense that it is nearly impossible to rectify mistakes. But this process offers broad expressiveness and individuality and, at the same time, a clear picture of my creative process without hiding anything. As a result, the spectator can literally see through my eyes, but with his or her mind. My work invites the viewer to take part in an intimate dialogue.
I always experiment with different formats and techniques. I also work in series which show a common topic but with technical variations in each work. In general, I use big formats for my paintings and drawings. Recently, however, I’ve created smaller, more intimate paintings and drawings.
My joy of discovery spurs me on to try out something new. For example, my so-called Dark Series of black and green portraits, blending expression and abstraction within the figurative, was created by using only charcoal, yellow oil glazes, and undiluted black oil paint.
Ultimately I aim to share my experience of reality with the viewer using the representation of faces, or the human or animal body.
Solo Exhibition in the International Airport Madrid-Barajas "Faces of the World", 30th December 2019-7th February 2020
Solo exhibition "The Passion of the Christ" in the German church Friedenskirche, Calle Serrano 6, Madrid
Exhibition in the United Artist Fair 2019 in the Casa de Cantabria, Madrid
Exhibition of paintings in Calle Serrano, Madrid, December 2018-February 2019
Solo exhibition of paintings in Madrid, Spain, November 2018
Exhibition of paintings in Madrid, Spain, Calle Serrano, November 2016-January 2017