Curtis Olson’s mixed media works of art are contemporary in design, but also are a personal exploration of the Japanese concept of “Wabi-Sabi” which relates to the beauty of natural processes, impermanence, rustic imperfection, and earthy unpretentiousness. Another notable quality of his artwork is the orchestrated design versus the organic nature of his mark making, which is determined by hia process and materials. At first glance they appear perfectly symmetrical, yet a closer look reveals they are made up of imperfect manual etchings, marks and gouges. These organic marks have become a trademark of his artwork, the geometric precision of his designs are altered by the execution; an unavoidable but visually interesting consequence of creating in such an unforgiving substance
Curtis Olson is an artist and co-owner of J GO Gallery. In other incarnations he has worked as a writer, a designer, and an award winning architect whose wide-ranging projects span 7 countries and combine cutting-edge design with environmentally sensitive planning and materials. His art is shown nationally and internationally and is held in the permanent collections of the Museums of Santa Barbara, Nicolaysen, and The State of Wyoming as well as many corporate collections. He was awarded the individual Artist Fellowship by the Wyoming Arts Council.
Olson received an Architecture degree from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He has studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Maryland, College Park and at the University of California, Berkeley.
Olson’s goal is to express raw physicality with depth and meaning, creating real life powerful objects. In a world of quick digital soul-less artifacts of mass production that are technically perfect, but without a sense of the individual, his work stands out. It is obviously crafted by hand and holds a visual and material significance.
These works are not abstractions, but are born from a world of ideas. They are infused with a myriad of influences related to his varied interests and passions. As a child, he was captivated by the loneliness and the vastness of the land and its indigenous and pioneer structures. Therefore he draws from nature, ancient culture and artifacts. He is also interested in Buddhist philosophy, science fiction, classical and modern design theory.
Process and Media
For his foundation Olson constructs a wood panel and combine diverse materials such as plaster, marble dust, micro-fine cement, metal, multiple layers of paint, and wax. I then carve to create texture and expand my pieces beyond two dimensions. To achieve the right texture, Olson’s pieces go through a labor intensive process of applying layers of paint and material, sanding and scoring then reapplying and repeating to reveal layers of color and texture.
In my compositions I am using a classic proportioning system found in nature and classic architecture – known as the golden section or golden ratio. This system is ingrained in me through my years as an architect. These pieces represent my continued explorations of the these questions:
How is abstraction used most effectively to evoke a feeling or sense of place?