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.
From 2017-2019 Oltmer photographed and collected fresh water plastic pollution to create For Future Generations : A plastic pollution study of Lake Erie a research-based project with the goal of understanding through lived experience the amount of fresh water plastic pollution which regularly washes ashore Emerald Beach.
As a result of For Future Generations, in 2019 Alexis founded #PlasticFreeBuffalo a community beach clean up. A movement where the community could share and discover similar experiences in cleaning up the Buffalo waterfront. Clean ups began with an introduction to the factual issues fresh water plastic pollution creates, the practice of art as activism, the clean up itself and ended with a discussion of what volunteers experienced and how individuals can make lifestyle changes to reduce their plastic consumption. Oltmer has collaborated with local businesses, schools, media outlets, and government to find solutions regarding the situation we face as a community relating to plastic pollution in Buffalo NY.
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.
Alexis Oltmer is a conceptual photographer and environmentalist living in Buffalo, NY. She creates work on topics such as the anthropocene and commercialism. Her work investigates how Industrial innovation has impacted the health of our planet and lifestyles.
Her work is intended to ignite consumers to question, reflect and take action concerning the destruction Industrial mass production has on our environments, specifically that of fresh water. Oltmer's practice is heavily based in research and is influenced by the philosophies of assemblage, photographic typology, and found objects. When making work, she uses guidelines in order to create repetition, resulting in an emphasis on the symbols created in the work.
FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS/ CEPA GALLERY/JANUARY 2020
THE CHILDREN OF SAN JOSE / CEPA GALLERY / MARCH 2015
BUFFALO LIST 10 / The Burchfield Penny / AUG - SEP 2014 DO YOU KNOW WE ARE RULED / CEPA GALLERY / MAY 2014
GRASSHOPPER / RUSTBELT BOOKS / JUNE 2013
MEMBER SHOW/ CEPA GALLERY/ JANUARY 2019
MEMBER SHOW / THE BIG ORBIT GALLERY / OCTOBER 2018
MEMBER SHOW / HALLWALLS / AUGUST 2017
MEMBER SHOW / CEPA GALLERY / JANUARY 2016
MEMBER SHOW / HALLWALLS / AUGUST 2016
MEMBER SHOW / CEPA GALLERY / JANUARY 2015
MEMBER SHOW / CEPA GALLERY / JANUARY 2013
MEMBER SHOW / THE BIG ORBIT GALLERY / OCTOBER 2013
MEMBER SHOW / HALLWALLS/ AUGUST 2013
GLOBAL WARMING ART PROJECT GRANT FUNDING/ ASI WNY/ JANUARY 2020
OSSEROFF MEMORIAL PURCHASE PRIZE / CEPA GALLERY & ROSWELL PARK CANCER / SEPTEMBER 2017