Alexis Oltmer is an eco-artist & environmentalist currently living in Buffalo, NY. She was born and raised in Endicott NY and moved to Buffalo to attend the University of Buffalo where she studied conceptual art practices and obtained her B.A in the field of Photography.
Her primary medium is photography, yet is not limited to sculpture, sound, installation and performance work. Alexis’s work revolves around questioning consumption culture, the Anthropocene, abjection, nostalgia, and societal norms. Photographically, Alexis works in large bodies of data collection, taking upwards of 6 months to 3 years for completion per project. Final bodies of work are often presented in multiple gridded pieces which revolve around a key topic of research.
Her current body of work For Future Generations : A study of Lake Erie plastic pollution, will be on view at The CEPA Gallery in January 2020.
For the past 3 years she has visited Emerald Beach focusing on the documentation and clean-up of plastic pollution that washes ashore on Lake Erie as a part of an ongoing series For Future Generations. This is a research-based project with the main goal of understanding the industrial and individual impacts that plastic pollution has on our communities freshwater ecosystems, and how those inhabiting areas near fresh bodies of water can have an actual impact on reducing oceanic plastic pollution & keeping our drinking water safe for consumption.
As a result of For Future Generations : A study of Lake Erie plastic pollution, Alexis founded #PlasticFreeBuffalo and is currently hosting public clean ups of Emerald beach throughout 2019. #PlasticFreeBuffalo began as a movement where the Community could share and discover similar experiences in cleaning up the Buffalo waterfront. Clean ups begin with an intro to For Future Generations & end with an hour-long discussion on how individuals can make lifestyle changes to reduce their plastic consumption. She has collaborated with local businesses, institutions, media, and government to find solutions regarding the very real situation we face as a community relating to plastic pollution in the age of the Anthropocene. For more information or to join a clean-up please visit the beach clean ups section of this website.
Her hometown has had an enormous impact on her career as an environmental advocate and artist. IBM which was founded in Endicott NY, reported a spill of 4,100 gallons of the solvent TCA (1,1,1-trichloroethane, also known as methyl chloroform). This known spill resulted in the contamination of Endicott’s freshwater aquifer. Over the years the contaminants migrated into neighborhoods, schools and business in the area. She grew up hearing about town halls and the constant fight locals endured against IBM & the closing of buildings and areas due to unsafe situations. To this day Endicott NY remains as an active class 2 Superfund site listed by the EPA, as the hazardous waste constitutes a significant threat to the public health and environment.
Alexis has exhibited at The CEPA Gallery and has shown her work at The Burchfield Penney, Hallwalls, The Big Orbit Gallery, Rustbelt books. She was awarded the 2017 Oseroff Memorial award. Alexis has been published in The Public newspaper for her exhibitions as well as her project My Fellow Americans a series which followed and documented multiple protests in the City of Buffalo from 2016-2017.