Born 1982, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Working with painting, printmaking and sculpture, Erik Olson balances the scientific and the poetic as he visualizes his life. People and experiences that are familiar to the artist become the subject of works that question our presumptions and our perception of the world. The painted figures that populate his canvases are likened to characters in mystery plays, each flaunting their own constructed personas and exuberant color. As portraits continue to be a central focus of his practice, his curiosity often leads to a variety of content across multiple scales: from the subconscious psychology of the sitter, to the windswept landscapes of America, to the scale of the planets and the vast cosmos. For Olson, painting and image making are a continuing method to explore and expand upon an understanding of reality.
Erik Olson has lived a nomadic life, having been raised in Calgary, Boston, and Nairobi as a child. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver in 2007. From 2014 to 2016, he attended the acclaimed Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as a guest student of Peter Doig. Olson has been the subject of solo exhibitions in major cities across Canada, the United States, and Europe. His work has been featured in Juxtapoz, ELLE Canada, The London Free Press, London Yodeller, and The Telegraph, Artillery Magazine, among others. He currently lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The gallery is pleased to announce that five paintings by Erik Olson were recently aquired by the Art Gallery of Alberta, Calgary, Canada. Working across different mediums, inclulding painting, sculpture, printmaking, and video, Erik Olson balances the scientific with the poetic in a dynamic visualization of his personal life. People, places and experiences become the subject of works that question our presumptions and our perception of the world. The figures and portraits that populate his canvases can be likened to characters in mystery plays, each flaunting their own constructed personas and exuberant color. Olson's playful curiosity often leads him to explore a variety of content across multiple scales: from the subconscious psychology of the sitter, to the windswept landscapes of America, to the scale of the planets and the vast cosmos.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce ERIK OLSON: The Mountain and the Sea, a new series of striking and expressive landscape paintings. This will be the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. Calgary-based artist Erik Olson is known for his imaginative and innovative approach to painting. Recognized for his powerful portraiture as well as his deeply personal explorations of landscape and color, his work utilizes scale to express the larger context of the human experience.
As the pandemic tethers us close to home, Calgary-born Erik Olson has unveiled a travelogue three years in the making of his 10,000-mile motorcycle odyssey through the storied places and dysfunctional underbelly of the United States.
The exhibition opens with a rapid, stand-alone animation that displays 19 images at a speed evoking the highway, testing our powers of perception and suggesting that the story of the journey could be told entirely visually, as if by Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who avoided scripted narration. The first sets the bike against an expanse of sky and sea near Vancouver, recalling Arthur Rimbaud’s discovery of “eternity” in the sea merged with the sun.
On the canvases, we find a reflection of contemporary America, from the hypnotic beauty of the landscape to the exuberant music on the streets to the struggles of those at the margins. All this comes through exquisitely in the forceful colours and spirited brushwork for which Olson has become well known.
Olson, who offers portraits of Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto and Charon, Mercury, Venus and a violently erupting quasar, among others, admits his knowledge of the cosmos was somewhat limited at first. But he became fascinated not only with the science-based observational data but also the naming of them in Greek and Roman mythology.
An exhibition of new works by an internationally acclaimed Canadian artist was inspired by a motorcycle trek across North America.
There's something invigorating about Erik Olson's rough-hewn artistry. He's known for his portraits, faces jagged and disintegrating in gooey slashes of colour. But his latest body of work, one of his self-described tangents, focuses on trees. Including unabashedly jerry-built tree houses - with what might be called a faux-naif style, except that it feels too genuine. The results are exuberant, childlike and intriguing.
For the last couple of years Canadian artist Erik Olson has been working almost exculsively on portraiture works, developing a wider range of representations of the individual. During his recent, highly productive stay at The La Brea Residency in LA, he created a new series of large oils on canvas as well as smaller oils on paper, further experimenting with the traditional format.