Mandalas: Curtis Olson New Work

Mandala, Lotus, 36"x36"


In his new series of textural wall pieces, Curtis Olson iterates an ancient, simple form to create works of multi-hued vibrancy and symbolic complexity. Using the basic form of a circle within a square, Olson thinly slices each circle into an unexpected spectrum of saturated hues. Olson says that among other concepts, the series was inspired by Native American medicine wheels and dance shields, 1970s sunset t-shirts and album covers, modernist color field paintings, and Buddhist thought. “By combining unique color combinations and a universally powerful symbol of a circle within a square,” Olson says, “I aspired to create objects that actively participate in peoples’ everyday lives.”
While the basic structure of the pieces is consistent– circles in squares divided by lines– the materials and color vary. Olson says that he experimented with different media to see how the materiality changes the work. Some of the pieces are fully constructed of Olson’s plaster/concrete blend; some are strips of painted wood inlaid into the circle, some are a modeling paste that Olson created out of an acrylic medium mixed with marble dust, some he made of strips of burnt wood. The consistency of shapes creates it’s own meditation in contrast.
About: 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.