Scott Olson’s abstract paintings conceal the deliberate decisions and elaborate processes used in their making. By employing a broad range of techniques and materials, Olson traces the history of painting back to the early Renaissance. At the same time, through subtle shifts and the gradual introduction of new methods and concepts, his small-scale works re-examine many of the medium’s long-established boundaries.
"Gesture is very important. It doesn’t have to be bombastic or incorporate your entire body. For me, it’s often my fingers or wrist resting on a bridge I’ve created above the painting. I’ve made some forms by gravity, dropping paint or flowing paint as I’ve worked on a flat surface. It’s organic or natural, a play between that and something more controlled or synthetic. I don’t think about it so much. It becomes an intuitive thing, a means to an end for achieving something else that may even undermine the formal aspects—the forms, figures, shapes.
More recently, and in small ways throughout, there have been subtle introductions of dimensionality or shadow or light––the optical mixing of paint through thin layers or the juxtaposition of dark and light. I think of that not as an inhabitable space, but rather something textural and shallow like the weave of a fabric. It’s still space, there’s dimensionality to that, but it’s not the most alluring or deceptive kind of space that draws you in."
Scott Olson, born 1976, lives and works in Kent, OH. His work has been shown at galleries in New York, Milan, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Stockholm, and Berlin as well as the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst (Vienna), White Flag Projects (St. Louis), Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland), and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) among other venues. The Cleveland Museum of Art is presenting Olson’s first institutional solo exhibition.
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The Cleveland Museum of Art is supported in part by Cuyahoga County residents through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this exhibition with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.