In 2013 Oliver was invited to complete a body of work with Edinburgh Printmakers which culminated in the exhibition Confusão. This solo exhibition, the first since the artist moved to Sub Saharan Africa, saw the artist refining her practice to a series of dark and haunting etchings.
Oliver has worked for many years with medical imaging data to create sculptures and installations. She works at a crossroads somewhere between new digital technologies, traditional print and sculpture, her finished objects bridging the virtual and the real worlds. Working with the anonymised dataset and medical avatar ‘Melanix’, Oliver uses radiology software to produce digital 2D renderings that are later combined with intricate collagraph drawings.
Oliver’s inspiration for the images in this series comes from the many powerful experiences she has had since living in Africa that have caused her to rethink her relationship with the scanned body. The digital technologies she uses have a strong symbolic resonance, signifying privilege both in terms of wealth and access to digital technology. In ‘Confusao’ Melanix is shrouded in the dark, weightless void of digital space, emerging to find herself appropriating traditions and rituals of African cultures she barely understands but is captivated by.
Marilène Oliver was born in the UK in 1977 but now lives and works in Edmonton, Canada. Oliver studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins and then at the Royal College of Art where she obtained an MPhil with the practice based research project ‘Flesh to Pixel, Flesh to Voxel, Flesh to XYZ’ on the use of medical imaging in contemporary art.
Oliver has exhibited widely in the UK and Europe in both private and public galleries including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal Academy, Frissarias Museum (Greece) and Kunsthalle Ahlen (Germany), Casino Luxembourg (Luxembourg), The Glenbow Museum (Canada) and Chelsea Art Museum (New York).
Her work is held in a number of private collections around the world as well as a number of public collections such as The Wellcome Trust and the Victoria and Albert Museum.