Patti Oleon: Other Side of Night

Apr 1 - May 13, 2023

He knew he would have to believe in order to go where she had been; knew that, if he believed he could go there even if it didn’t exist, if it was make believe.

--  Author Jim Crowley, Little, Big (1981)

Have you ever stood at the edge of a still body of water lined with trees and buildings and seen two worlds simultaneously? Well, maybe three worlds depending on how you parse it. The world we walk in. The reflection of the world we walk. The flat glistening plain where we may see a mirrored tree, moon, or high-rise as well as faint echoes of the teeming life below where fish swish their tails and kelp forests hypnotically sway. This semi-opaque surface of visually condensed natural and architectural reflections is the realm of Patti Oleon’s carefully constructed and bewitching images.


In this selection of paintings from her Apartment Lobby Series (2018-2023), Oleon portrays vibrant and mysterious multiverses. Her artistic process begins with scouting locations, in this case hotel or apartment lobbies with glass doors and walls. She photographs these reception areas from the outside looking in and this allows her to capture the superimposed exterior street and landscape reflections on to the interior lobbies – ambiguous spaces rife with waiting, passage, and transition. She then digitally manipulates the images with layering, inverting, and mirroring tools and by altering color densities. Once she finalizes the composition on screen, she meticulously renders the image in oil paint on panel. This digital and analog process is why the work rests on the edge of being both painterly and filmic, abstraction and representation, genuine and otherworldly.


Some of the compositions like Double Palm II (2020) and Flight (2021) have strong horizontal lines bisecting the panel at or near the dead center generating an above and below, waking/dreaming, conscious/subconscious division of the flattened landscape. While others like Phantom Limb (2021), Firehouse (2021) and Hallway with Trees (2022), have a centralized floating portal luring the eye deep into the core of the imaginary space – a sophisticated mashup of light, shadow, transparent architecture, and dense nature. It is a combination of stepping into Roald Dahl’s glass elevator, falling through Lewis Carroll’s rabbit hole, and entering George Saunders’s Bardo minus the lingering souls.


While people are conspicuously and intentionally absent, these peculiar antechambers are filled with mortal energy and are charged with a kaleidoscope of colors similar to Sharon Ellis’s psychedelic palette and smooth surface. Twilight Garden (2022) is a vivid range of sunset pinks seamlessly descending into reds. The intense tones combined with the receding perspective, and symmetry of the deftly executed and luminous glass vestibule draws the eye to the epicenter’s glowing chartreuse stargate. Oleon’s merging of superrealism with atmospheric blocking and overlay, architectural specificity, and refracted internal lighting is both seductive and disorienting akin to Tom LaDuke’s recent gallery space paintings. Hundreds of years ago Michelanglo commented, “In Flanders, they paint, before all things, to render exactly and deceptively the outward appearance of all things.” By ‘exactly rendering’ her imagined environments, like any good science fiction writer, Oleon suspends disbelief and presents a convincing semi-hallucinogenic pictorial terrain loaded with a range of human emotion—waiting, longing, lingering, passing, departing, anticipating, arriving. She metaphorically collapses and arrests spatial time into a single moment and infuses her supernatural thresholds with evidence of multidimensional consciousness.


Gerhard Richter, one of Oleon’s admitted art influences, has said, “Abstract pictures are fictive models, because they make visible a reality that we can neither see nor describe, but whose existence we can postulate.” The lobby paintings are simultaneously abstract and representational. They are the object and reflection, the real and the unreal. Oleon’s images postulate a beautiful, melancholic, twilight existence and offer a compelling challenge to extend perception beyond the limits of here and there into a third, expanded realm of sensual truth and intuitive exploration.


-- Meg Linton is an independent curator, writer, and producer based in the Los Angeles area.

Installation Views
Press release

Edward Cella Gallery is thrilled to present the lush paintings of Patti Oleon in an exhibition entitled, Other Side of Night. Evocative and mysterious, Oleon creates visual amalgams of interior spaces and exterior landscapes lit with the ethereal color and light found in nightfall and daybreak hours. Inspired by the landscape of Los Angeles, its architecture, its film sets, literary history, and her own experience with the city; her paintings are means to consider the outside world transmuted through the interior worlds she creates in her studio. Filled with associations and ambiguities, Oleon’s surreal paintings suggest memories or dreams and are emotionally charged.


Although imaginary, Oleon sources her imagery using photographs which are altered and transformed through digital means and are arranged into a composition prior to embarking in her studio on the laborious painting process crafted of multiple layers of oil paint and translucent glazes. Suggesting cinematic dissolves, her paintings operate between realism and abstraction, fact and fiction.


Oleon’s work have been included in many recent group exhibitions and art fairs, Other Side of Night represents the artist’s second solo exhibition with the Gallery and features her most recent body of paintings. 



other Side of Night


Saturday, April 1, 2023 | Noon to 6 PM

Talk with the Artist at 3 PM


On View Wednesday, April 5 - 15, 2023

Wednesday through Saturday 11 AM to 5 PM

And by appointment THROUGH APRIL 30


Edward Cella Art+Architecture @

Himalaya Club

1109 N. La Brea Ave.

Inglewood, CA 90302