For Crochet Street Artist OLEK "The End is Far"

Don't Call Her A 'Yarn-Bomber'
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For those who follow this sort of thing, street artist Olek has monopolized the category for pink and purple camouflage crochet sculpture on the street.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say she actually invented the category, owing as much to the D.I.Y. and hand-crafting movements as to public artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, whose work also lusts for custom wrapping everything that occupies space. Where Christo might prefer tarps and massive scale multi-week installations, Olek is content for now to hand-crochet her bespoke skin covers for bicycles, shopping carts, strollers, the Wall Street Bull sculpture, and every inanimate object in her apartment.

Now we can add to that list candelabras and human skeletons.

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web6.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In her new solo show "The End is Far" at Manhattan's Jonathan Levine Gallery, the Polish born street artist (please don't say "yarn-bomber") again covers the entire interior of the exhibition space with the sweet poppy palette in which so much of her street work has been sheathed. Possibly new here is the focus on adornment; brocade and appliqué treatments that are deliberately fussy and feminine, and a dining set that curves toward Victorian.

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web14.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Somehow this added ornamentation clouds the candy camo and cushions the blow of her cursively tart twists on homey axioms like "All We Need Is Love and Money," and "Being Beautiful on the Inside is What Counts Ha Ha Not Really." With metallic yarn stretched across skulls and wine bottles and chalices, the tough stuff is softened by the thickness of the cover, and the attitude of pure play.

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web12.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fresh from very publicly beating a rap for assault in London, she happily calls sexism on the carpet and champions human rights as part of her work, and you'll see elements of this here too. Call this a show about candy-colored empowerment. Call her a creative force to reckon with, and possibly adore; but don't be too saccharine; she'll call you a pussy. With this much attitude and determination, you can expect expansion and refinement to intensify during this still blooming career, and one can imagine Olek crocheting a way to wrap an entire city before it is all over.

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web7.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web1.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web11.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web10.jpgThe hand crocheted pugilistic art of Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web9.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web2.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web3.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web8.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web4.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web5.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2013-03-03-brooklynstreetartolekjaimerojojonathanlevinegallery0313web13.jpgOlek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Olek "The End is Far" is currently on view at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. Click here for further information.


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This article was also posted on Brooklyn Street Art.

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