Amy Oliver: Do you remember the first time? You were 21. I was 18 and in awe. You gently took my hand, held my face. Looked deeply into my eyes and smashed my head into a wall (mannequin, artist's hand, digital edit)

Pain and understanding are often two of the most precious aspects of an artists life and of an artists perspective through their work. We are always a matter of the perspective of self. We understand through our own lives, through our own journey and its milestones, who we are, who we are to others, and just as importantly, who others are to ourselves. The perspective of a life is the story, the unique story of our journey. To share that with others can be difficult, can often be unrewarding, but artists often feel that it is well worth sharing personal moments, personal reflection, personal trials with others, as only through sharing do we really begin to understand what life is about. We share as humans because an experience shared is an experience connected. We are social creatures, we share experience, we share stories and understandings. That so many of us have lost that connection, lost that ability to share, is one of the great tragedies of our species, but perhaps that is the purpose of art and artists, to share the human experience. To understand what you are going through, what you have been through is often made bearable by the fact that others have been through it, and just as importantly, others have survived. However, it isn't as simple as that. It isn't about connecting as victim, it is more about connecting as survivor, surviving as strength rather than weakness. The work of the artist Amy Oliver very much revolves around experiences and understandings regarding mental health, of women's rights and identity within the world that she finds herself in, as well as the social and political conditions of the now. Amy's work often portrays strong elements of vulnerability and instability, her mannequin work is particularly astute. To use mannequins as part of the human condition, as part of the frayed human condition, is a particularly powerful observation, and a very powerful projection of self and others. We are the living embodiment of self, of uniqueness, of self worth and self expression, and yet we are often little more than mute mannequins, creatures with tied down emotions, tied down belief in self, tied down expression of that self. We are muted and cowered, we have shrunk to manageable levels of control and belief. The tragedy of the human species and of the human condition is how often this is the experience of women. Amy expresses through her work, and through the titles of her work, what is really going on in our world. We live in a world that advertises a belief in equality for all, but one that delivers very little. Vulnerabilities are everywhere, and exploitation of perceived weaknesses are exploited ruthlessly. We have far to go and have travelled just a few small steps. However, it is important to note that Amy's work has a sturdy underbelly, a rich and deep foundation of belief, a belief in an inner strength, a strength that will endure and can be built upon. You are unique and you are a vital element of the bigger aspect. Everyone is valued, and everyone has a contribution to make towards the human condition...and don't let anyone ever tell you that you are worthless, minor, or irrelevant.

Amy Oliver: Every touch became a threat. Every threat became a touch (mannequin and digital edit)

Amy Oliver: Just shut the fuck up (mannequin and digital edit)

Amy Oliver: Love, love is a verb (mannequin, digitally drawn eye and edit)

Amy Oliver: One eternal day (mannequin and digital edit)

Amy Oliver: Personal space (mannequin and digital edit)
Amy Oliver: Shut up (mannequin and digital edit)

Amy Oliver: Taking its toll (mannequin and digital edit)

Amy Oliver: Tell me about it I (mannequin and digital edit)