Contemporary light artist Olivia Steele has earned an international reputation for her spirited public neon happenings in surreal environments. Formed by hand and filled with gas, Steele harnesses the power of neon to assert symbolic phrasing that allures and provokes. Pioneering a new breed of conscious art, her expansive career has seen her impart fragments of handwritten wisdom and wit all over the globe, from Berlin to Beirut, Miami to Mumbai - in the form of site-specific land art and indoor installations with her signature illuminated sentiments. Her original interventions on found objects like vintage birdcages and gas tanks have given rise to a new series of renowned collectables. Aside from the immediately iconic and often humorous style of Steele’s work, her interventions are pointedly placed in environments that prompt existential musings. Her innate relationship with the sublime and spiritual manifest as explosive imagery where Steele’s opus positions her as one of the most compelling contemporary artists working in her field today.
Proving that “it is the spectator and not life that art really mirrors,” Steele’s oeuvre is a synthesis of contrast and contradiction. She encapsulates the contemporary storyteller using the traditional medium of neon to manifest her striking expressions that address the vortex of modernity. Her neon works are short, punctuated truths that mirror the ingenuity (or malaise) of the digital age. Her glass acumens are often paired with incendiary imagery or found objects that are evocative stimuli for the viewer. Covert emotions and unforeseen forces also charge Steele’s themes where her studies into consciousness and the divine pervade her transformative pieces.
“My art is not about what I see... It’s about what I invite you to see.” Her simplistic interpretable phrases inhabit spaces of contradictory, confrontational or conciliatory meaning, manifested in multiple forms like neon, road signs, and now fire. Always symbolic and sometimes irreverent, her handwritten neon statements suspend time and motion as they crystallise the unity between landscape, semiotics and spectacle that engenders countless avenues for contemplation and inspiration.