When A Whale Falls: works by Olivia Elaine Lorber
June 10th- July 7th



The body of work presented in my solo exhibition, When a Whale Falls, is centered around the emotional and symbolic connection between the life cycle of a blue whale and the complex network of human thoughts and emotions. I was initially drawn to the blue whale because of their majesty and isolated livelihood. A being so powerful that lives almost its entire life alone resonated with my personal feelings of solitude and carrying myself through my most devastating emotions. I began researching the whale in both life and death and came across the phenomenon of the Whale Fall.

A blue whale traverses the ocean for almost an identical lifespan as a person but even upon
death, it continues to give back to the world for decades. When a blue whale falls to the ocean floor it goes through many distinct phases of decay, turning its nearly 100 ft body into a concentrated source of food and shelter for creatures that live in the deepest part of the ocean where there is no sun and barely anything to feed on. The death of such an incredible animal fosters life and prosperity for so many biological communities for more than half of the time the whale was alive. This cycle of growth and despair is so intrinsic to human nature. I have developed a visual language for my emotions that fall under these two categories through character and world building. The figures in my paintings are often assigned certain roles and paired with specific dream-like imagery representative of distinct memories and feelings. Some of them are strong and capable of handling anything thrown at them, while others had to let go and embrace the fall.

Each figure, all of which I view as an extension of myself, exists within a seed; a capsule
symbolic of memories and the mental network that requires both the good and the bad to
function, a moment of transition, accepting fate and welcoming change. This seed is a hopeful self-portrait, constantly developing and quietly tending to each figure at a different stage of their growth. The pearl, as well as the seed, is an emblem of strength and perseverance. The pearl is sometimes just out of reach and sometimes nowhere to be found yet the figures I create seek them out tirelessly. By turning these parts of myself that feel so out of place into characters of the same world, I am finding my strength in both my identity and experiences. I am the seed that houses the parts of me that feel flawed and hurt. I am also the seed that prevails, I bloom with no help from the sun. My mind is a blue whale.