"Olive Ayhens: Metabolic Metropolis" Reviewed in "Manhattan Art Review"

“Manhattan Art Review”
Sean Tatol | 3/21/2024

Kritic's Korner

Olive Ayhens - Metabolic Metropolis - Bookstein Projects - ****

These are really hard to get a grip on; they're just as quaint as they are tripped out, crude as they are technical, overly literal in the juxtaposition of the urban and then natural but also convincing in moments of ridiculous caricature, traffic schematization in the manner of Richard Scarry's Busytown, and free distortion of perspectival planes. It's truly jarring to see the effort put into rendering of a mountain vista overlooking Malta with its cute little cars and undulating but visually convincing city blocks fully disrupted by a near-stick figure of a giant blue woman reclining on the rocks across the bay. The moments of outright dumb ideas, like a traffic jam in a fuchsia swamp of pollution connected by vines to an outcropping city or a luxury high-rise populated entirely by crudely-inserted, oversized tree frogs, sits so directly next to virtuosically disorienting perspectives and authentically weird details like giant army men (more assault rifles) presiding over a crowd of tiny people and wavy cars at a mall that they manage to make the flaws into endearing elements that actually improve the whole.