Olivia Steele uses neon lighting to charge spaces with ironic and spiritual meaning. Steele’ s work ranges from small to large installations that employ the traditional commercial medium of neon glass to make intimate statements that often question modern culture. Steele relishes the idea of contrast and contradiction and plays with our innate preconceptions. The juxtaposition of the neon statement and the environment is placed in challenging conventional semiotics and evokes a wide range of interpretations. In dialogue with media such as facades, rivers, photographs and found objects, she tells short stories that evoke thought while enlightening the scenery with elaborate handwritings in neon glass. Like Henri Nannen stated: “Art has to be provocative, it has to stimulate our thoughts.” Therefore Olivia Steele uses iconic images such as exploding atomic bombs or the seemingly sacred cross along with deep personal sentiments to jar the viewer beyond the everyday. The nature of her content is both provocative and reflective as her work asks the viewer to consider the hidden emotions and unforeseen forces in a moment of reflection. "Good, bad, right or wrong, it’ s all relative. Art is notoriously ambiguous. The art of challenging conventional semiotics and observing the vast spectrum of strangers’ reactions and interpretations is highly rewarding“, says the artist.
Olivia Steele (* 1985 Nashville, Tennessee) lives and works in Berlin and Mexico.