Contact: Tea Silvestre

Lodi Arts Commission

Phone 209.367.5442

Fax 209.367.5906

125 S. Hutchins Street

Lodi, CA  95240

Press Release

March’s First Friday Art Show to feature Italian-born Oliveri

Lodi Arts Commission Invites Community to Meet-the-Artist Reception

Lodi, Calif . (Feb. 18, 2003)  --  The Lodi Arts Commission, in conjunction with Hutchins Street Square, invites the public to the March First Friday Art Show: 

                DATE:  Friday, March 7

                TIME:   7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

                PLACE:  Thomas Theatre Gallery, Hutchins Street Square
                          125 So. Hutchins Street, Lodi, CA

This month’s meet-the-artist reception will feature the works of Joseph Oliveri, an Italian-born local artist of International fame.  Mr. Oliveri’s show, “My Son, My God,” will feature oil paintings rendered in his impressionistic-primitive style. 

Visitors will also be treated to wine, appetizers and live music.  This event is FREE and open to the public; and artworks will hang all month at Hutchins Street Square.

A self-taught artist, Oliveri became interested in classical art as a youth in Palermo, Italy.  He has shown his works in his native Italy, where art critics acclaimed his work, saying he possessed the ‘hands of Giorgioni.’  He has also shown his work all over California, including galleries and museums in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Modesto.

According to Oliveri, these works were inspired by The Bible and the artist’s wish to explore the Virgin Mary’s place in the Church.  “She is the new Eve or the tabernacle of the Messiah – not the God that we worship,” says Oliveri.  “She says to us Jesus is ‘My Son, My God’.”

Sales from the paintings are slated for a publication that will benefit work for the poor in South America and Africa.

For more information on this event, please contact the Arts Commission at 209-333-5511.


The Lodi Arts Commission was established by the Lodi City Council in 1982 and charged with the mission to promote and encourage programs to further the development and public awareness of and interest in the fine and performing arts and to act in an advisory capacity to the Lodi City Council in connection with the artistic and cultural development of the City.   For more information about the Lodi Arts Commission, call 209.367.5442 or visit their website at



“Nothing is hard for you when you have imagination.”

– Joseph Oliveri



Joseph Oliveri, a native of Palermo, Italy, was born in 1940 in the small town of Carini, Sicily.


Oliveri began his life-long love affair with classical art as a young boy.  A self-taught, visionary folk artist, his paintings possess an innocence and freshness as well as characteristics of classic euro-Italian art.


At the young age of 17, he was faced with tragedy and became the head of the family, responsible for the his mother, three sisters and a brother.  At age 18, he came to seek his fortune in the “New World” of San Francisco, California.


During the next few years, Oliveri was once again faced with the need to financially support his own family – a wife, four boys and two girls.  Any hope of professional schooling vanished.  However, his love for art – the feel of the brushes wisping along, the smell of the paint drying on the canvas, and blank spaces converted to beauty – that was not lost!


To date, Oliveri has created more than 400 paintings, mostly landscapes reflecting life in the 15th century Europe.  But his later work focuses on matters spiritual and is rendered in a more “impressionistic-primitive” style.


His work over the past twenty or so years was done “in the light of God.”  Although Joseph concedes that his major illness and the medications it required may have caused some minor hallucinations, he feels his creativity and talent is from God – light – that directs his mind, his heart and the movements of his paint brush.


In 1984, he returned to Italy and two years later completed 42 visionary paintings based on the Bible’s Book of Revelations.  Those paintings were published in a catalog under the title “Apocalisse” (Apocalypse) and now hang in Siracusa, Sicily in the Cathedral of Santa Lucia where income from those paintings benefits the poor of Italy.


In addition to the display of his work in Italy, Oliveri’s paintings have been shown all over California, including the Sandl Gallery of the Oakdale Museum; the Bade Hall of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley; and the Museo Italo-Americano art gallery at Ft. Mason in San Francisco.


Oliveri’s most recent works are a group of paintings that explore the Virgin Mary’s place in the Catholic Church.  “She is the new Eve or the Tabernacle of the Messiah – not the God that we worship,” says Oliveri.  “She says to us: ‘Jesus is My Son, My God.’ ”


Oliveri is working in conjunction with St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church of Stockton to produce another catalog of his paintings—sales of which will benefit the poor in South America and Africa.