Painter Scott Olson on stumbling upon materials, the Ohio art scene, and the importance of frames.
The density and intricacy of Scott Olson’s work can be attributed to his meticulous attention to material as well as his overall commitment to the debris of abstraction lingering in contemporary art today. Olson’s skills find congruity between hand-crafted and sleek aesthetics, exemplified by the work’s surface polish. Olson meticulously fluctuates between the permanence in frame construction and the levity of pigment mineralization, building up the surface of his works through the mixture of marble dust and rabbit glue. His work incorporates the legacy of such artists as Kupka and Chagall, allowing him to create an abstract lyricism between color and form.
Veronika Vogler You used to live in Brooklyn and have recently moved to a more intimate location in Ohio. Do you feel that you have to be in certain environment to create your work?
Scott Olson I wouldn’t say that I have to be in a specific environment. My environment affects me a lot, of course. I loved the camaraderie of having my studio in Brooklyn, but also love watching the sun cast shadows across the enormous white barrels of the grain elevator we have in Kent along the river and the railroad track. I feel very adaptable to any environment. Technically, painting isn’t very portable unless you are looking at the tradition of plein air, and my movements are like those of a landscape painter. I’ve pared down my studio so it fits in two small boxes, including my complete set of paints. I use very little paint so some of my colors have been travelling with me for several years- they seem almost endless. I move my studio every summer to the coast of Maine, very far north. I cannot help but be affected by the changing light at any time of day. The tidal estuaries make it feel like the landscape is dramatically shifting in constant intervals, almost heaving up and down.
VV There has definitely been a shift toward sleekness within the parameters of art and design that seems to want to eliminate “clutter” while at the same time relying on locally sourced materials. Your frames are often sourced using local wood and your pigments are mixed with local soil. It appears your work is impacted by your surroundings in a very direct way.
Video by Veronika Vogler.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Aaron Dilloway perform at one of the last Wierd Records parties at Home Sweet Home.
In many Eastern philosophies and religions, one of the essential lessons of meditation is to realize the Oneness of being by overcoming the distance between the self and what surrounds it. In Hinduism, the term Ardhanarishvara signifies the confluence between the Self (purusha), which is male, and the Universe (prakriti), which is female. The union between these two energies translates into the very essence of Creation where Love denotes itself, and not the space between two entities. The idea is that by eradicating distance, difference is no longer perceived. And if there is no difference between us there can only be Love. While the end result of this stream of thought is enticing, it is onerous to reconcile the idea of a symbiosis between two people, let alone with the entire reality of the world. This is what makes the performance of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge creatively transcendental and aesthetically ceremonial. Over two decades ago, Genesis and his wife Lady Jaye began their most prolific collaboration by undergoing numerous surgeries to look like one another. The end result being this Oneness of being which they titled the Pandrogyne Project—the creation of a new gender through the synthesis of their two entities to be known collectively as Breyer P-Orridge. If the body is the personal property of the soul, can bodymates become an extension of soulmates? The one step beyond the Platonian concept of androgynous beings—both male and female confined to one form.