Artist Statement

My artworks embody dualities that challenges the relationship between perception and actuality.
My pieces often appear perfectly symmetrical, yet a closer look reveals they are made up of raw unapologetically imperfect manual etchings, marks and gouges. The objects have a timelessness, sometimes feeling as if they are a significant ancient artifact and yet modern at the same time.
These works are not abstractions, they are born from a world of ideas. In addition to platonic geometry, where geometry is represented as the primary building blocks of all matter, the pieces are infused with a myriad of influences. Native American medicine wheels and dance shields, snowflakes, spirographic designs, ancient constellation maps, color field paintings of the 1940's and 50's, Egyptian and Greek architectural proportioning, Buddhist philosophy, ancient archeological finds (antikythera device) and modern architectural aesthetics are just a few of the ideas informing these works.

The word "mandala" is a classical Sanskrit word that loosely translated means "circle." A mandala is far more than a simple shape, though. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself - a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. Describing both material and nonmaterial realities, the circle appears in all aspects of our lives: from the orbits and shape of planets, stars and moons, to the conceptual circles of our friends, family, and community.

Color: The form of the color stripes over-layered over or under the geometric patterns sets up another duality.  My color choices mostly fall into 3 categories; Symbolic, Nature and Unusual color combinations inspired by strange juxtapositions I notice through daily observations. Inspiration can come from anywhere; product packaging on store shelves, flowers, Japanese animation, to sports team jerseys and magazines.

Statement: “By combining unique color combinations and variations of universally powerful geometry, I aspired to create objects that actively participate in people's everyday lives. I’m interested in art that retains a flickering quality, where many opposing ideas can coexist and some questions still remain.”

"What I love about traveling to new places as well has hiking and backpacking is the curiosity of what is around the next corner or in the next country.  Making art fulfills a similar need - the drive to see how my next idea or technique or piece will turn out as it develops.  My continued quest for perfect imperfection.

Process and Media: I apply thick layers of a special micro-fine cement mixture to a wood panel structure. While still wet, I cut  in lines, apply texture and marks and sometimes apply paint to achieve a type of fresco effect.  After drying, I sand  the piece, then carve, etch, and scar the surface. Then I’ll apply layers of paints, dyes, inks and waxes, remove and re-apply them.  Sanding again and reworking the piece until achieving the correct balance of elements to call the piece finished.



© Curtis R. Olson I 2016 - 2019