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"A Question of Scale"
Erik Olson, "A Question of Scale," 2011, oil on panel, 48” x 36”. Image courtesy of artist.
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Erik Olson, "Matt", 2012, oil on canvas, 48" x 36". Image Courtesy of Artist.
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Erik Olson, "Bradley Harms," 2011, oil on panel, 48” x 36”.
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Erik Olson, "Blue Eyes," 2012, oil on canvas, 30” x 24” Image courtesy of artist.
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Erik Olson, "Forrest," 2009, oil on panel, 20” x 16” Image courtesy of artist.
Douglas Udell Gallery – $1,800 to $4,000
By Maureen Latta
Gallery owner Doug Udell was so impressed with Erik Olson’s expressionistic portraits that he wanted to buy one when they first met in the artist’s Calgary studio last fall. Unfortunately, it was promised to the Toronto International Art Fair. So Udell quickly offered Olson a show in February. "He has the ability to give you a feeling of the sitter," says Udell, noting that Olson’s brushwork is so thick some strokes look almost like wood.
Olson, 30, is a frenetic traveler, always heading somewhere new. From the violent cacophony of paintings from a six-month motorcycle trip in India to the calm and ordered portraits of planets inspired by NASA images, Olson expresses the often explosive visual impact of new perceptions. He has no fear of tackling a broad range of subject matter, whether a portrait of an elephant or a representation of deep space. “I use the structure of painting as a way to explore the world,” he says.
Olson, a graduate of Emily Carr University in Vancouver, cites influences from Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach. Olson has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Calgary, the University of Wisconsin’s Union Art Gallery, Chicago’s Invitational Art Fair and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. His painting, The Skateboarder, was included in the BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2012.