Mapping Sentinels – Curtis Olson


Mapping Sentinels works by Curtis Olson

Opening Jan 27th 6-9pm.
Jan 27th- Feb 13th 2012

Park City, UT- Opening the last Friday of the Sundance Film Festival during gallery stroll, January 27, J GO Gallery presents Curtis Olson: Mapping Sentinels. Olson’s mixed media works are formal studies in composition and design as well as the artist’s personal exploration and interpretations of contemporary landscape art. The show will run through February 14, 2012.

Mapping Sentinels is a collection of two distinct new bodies of work by artist, gallerist, and architect Curtis Olson. Well known for his organic abstractions of the Western landscape, these series present new directions, with Olson’s abstractions taking a more graphic approach and sharper palette.

“Sentinels” is a series of planes of plaster intersected by builderly wooden inlay into geometric structures. These structures combine pure color, eroded texture, and Olson’s photography transferred directly onto the plaster. The geometric division of the pieces is reminiscent of the western landscape via jet plane– divided and squared. In “Sentinels,” images of lone trees and structures stand as holdouts, giving the sense of nature and earlier manifestations of the Western landscape breaking through human orderliness. The colors of the series are taken straight from the great American road trip, with Route 66 skies, verdant pastures, golden fall cornfields, and the occasional back road barn door informing the palette. “Sentinels” is a continuation of the work freshly developed for Olson’s recent solo exhibition at Park City’s Kimball Art Center.

In Olson’s purely abstract series, “Maps,” the materials and compositions are similar, but where “Sentinels” utilizes photography, “Maps” has abstract forms sweeping through the linear landscapes, and bright colors popping off the surface of muted textures. Portions of arcs and circles tumble through the gridded landscapes, almost as if the seasons themselves have fractured along with the land. “They are a mash-up of maps,” says Olson, “pieces that to me are alluding to maps of fractured landscapes. In the end they become abstract.” Olson has had a lifelong love of maps which resulted in early plans to be an explorer/cartographer and “Maps” brings to mind early 20th century cartographic surveys.

Together the bodies of work that compose Mapping Sentinelsare complex interpretations of Western art; pushing the boundaries of what constitutes landscape, and where the modern and iconic West intersect.

Curtis Olsonis an artist and the co-owner of J GO Gallery. He has worked as a writer, a designer, and an award winning architect whose projects span seven countries and combine cutting-edge design with environmentally sensitive planning and materials. He was awarded the individual Artist Fellowship by the Wyoming Arts Council. His art is shown both 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 in many corporate collections.