Dana Oldfather is a painter who has exhibited internationally and nationally in galleries and museums including Library Street Collective, Detroit, Zg Gallery, Chicago, Kathryn Markel Fine Art, New York, Red Arrow Gallery in Nashville, The McDonough Museum of Art in Youngstown, The Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, and The University of Southern Queensland, in Australia. She was awarded the William and Dorothy Yeck Award for Young Painters, two Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards, and a Satellite Fund Emergency Relief Grant from SPACES Gallery, The Warhol Foundation, and The Cleveland Foundation. Oldfather has been published in magazines and journals including Beautiful/Decay, ArtMaze Magazine, and the book The Art of Spray by Lori Zimmer. Her paintings are internationally collected privately and can be found in many public and corporate collections in the US including Eaton Corporation, MGM International, Bedrock Detroit, The Cleveland Clinic, and the prestigious Progressive Art Collection. Dana Oldfather currently works and lives just outside Cleveland, Ohio with her husband Randall and young son Arlo.
Perhaps we should give more weight to each of our actions, no matter how small? The whole of our lives is built of innumerable events, one succeeding another, obtusely influencing the next. In a world full of unknowns, change and impermanence are our only certainties. Women in this work play, climb, conquer, and fall. They get it done and become undone. Their movements too are metaphors for the way it feels to try and fail to balance work, home, health, and family. Through allegory, color, and light I mirror an uneasy world distorted by apprehension. I portray feminine challenge to give prominence and dignity to the often-invisible work that nourishes the lives of others. I implore those who do this work to ask for help when it is needed. These paintings underscore the inherent emotional conflict of parenting young children and the fragility of comfort and happiness in America today.
Where are you from? Did you grow up in a creative environment?
My father is a painter, and my mother was an accountant/information systems person in a big corporation. They divorced when my brother and I were young. Dad raised us alone in the little 1920s era apartment he and Mom had rented while she was getting her degree at Baldwin Wallace, in a gritty airport suburb outside Cleveland, Ohio. Dad worked all day in the studio, and we were in elementary school when Mom moved out. My brother and I ran wild, and I did a lot of painting.
Who or what has compelled and/or encouraged you to create your art?
My husband is a big supporter of my work. I couldn’t do what I do without his love, partnership… and stable career choice.
What is the key topic or issue that your work addresses?
What moves me to make work are the wrinkles in America’s view and support of parenthood, women, and caregivers in general. I use painting and drawing to point out the messy bed we sleep in.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
Caring for my son and husband, and the lack of support structure for caregivers in America.
If you weren’t creating art, what would you be doing?
Going back to school to get a computer science degree, or slinging cocktails – probably both.