Press Release

Olive Ayhens: Transformation of Place
November 9, 2021– January 7, 2022
Artist’s Reception: Thursday, November 11th from 12:00 – 6:00 pm

Bookstein Projects is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Olive Ayhens. This is the artist’s fifth solo show with the gallery.

Executed over the last two years, the works in this exhibition were predominantly started and executed during the COVID-19 quarantine in New York City. Having recently moved from Brooklyn to the West Village, the artist found herself in a new neighborhood that was completely deserted and ripe for exploration. Having no one around allowed the artist to connect more immediately with the architecture and buildings in her new neighborhood, which would have normally been quite busy. Like many artists, Ayhens found a renewed passion for painting during the pandemic because it allowed her to concentrate on something productive, in an almost meditative way.

In Overpop Jamboree, the masterstroke of the exhibition, the artist has invented an urban landscape replete with a myriad of vibrantly colored buildings. While the painting does not represent a specific city, there are many skyscrapers that are reminiscent of actual buildings including Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building, New York (1913), Frank Gehry’s New York by Gehry, New York (2011), Foster and Partners’ Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Astana, Kazakhstan (2010), and Spanish architecture by Antoni Gaudí. In the lower right corner of the painting, a large crowd scene spills out of the picture plane. While Ayhens was initially interested in visually representing overpopulation, she resigned herself to the notion that it could not be done effectively and resorted to a crowd scene instead. Contrasting against the vivid colors of the city, the crowd scene is executed in a grisaille palette inspired by an ­­Old Master painting. In Waves are Coming, inspired by DUMBO, a modern glass building is raised on stilts to protect it from the rising waters of the East River crashing at its base. Higher up on the building’s glass façade, reflections of the East River blur the lines between what is inside and what it outside.

Olive Ayhens (b. Oakland, CA) received her BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. In addition to her extensive exhibition history, Ayhens has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the Joan Mitchell Grant, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award and Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grant. Artist residencies include The Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Program, MacDowell Colony, Fundacion Valparaiso, the Salzburg Kunsterhaus, Yaddo Artist Residency, Djerassi Artist Residency, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Roswell Artist Residency, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and a residency at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in 2017. The artist lives and works in New York City.

Olive Ayhens: Transformation of Place will be on view from November 9, 2021– January 7, 2022. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, November 11th from 12:00 – 6:00 pm. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The gallery will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday from November 22 – 26, 2021. The gallery will also be closed for the Christmas and New Year holidays from December 22 – 31, 2022. For additional information and/or visual materials, please contact the gallery at (212) 750-0949 or by email at