Venue: Hallberg Center for the Arts
Artist's Statement by Steve Olson
Steve Olson (1951-2021) was a fixture of the Minneapolis gallery scene, active from the 1980's to his death in 2021. His work bore witness to the power of human connection, especially in times of struggle. This exhibition is a 40-year survey of his work, ranging from 1980's pop imagery and shaped canvasses, to his contemporary signature carved and burned wood pieces illustrating the human condition.
Trained under George Morrison at the University of Minnesota, Olson was persistent in pursuing his unique artistic voice. He had an enduring interest in the structure of each piece, playing with unique perspectives and interplay of shapes and spatial relationships. He created an innovative style that merged burned and carved wood, harnessing the transformative power of fire to imbue humanity in his artwork. Perhaps most distinctive to his style was the belief that art should illustrate our common humanity, the universality of grief, comfort, parenthood, and our highest calling to support one another in times of struggle.
Olson's work gives homage to the heroes among us who bring comfort and solace to the forgotten and marginalized. Olson’s work has been included in private and corporate collections (RBC, US Bank); however he was most proud of his work in collections that advance a social mission, including homelessness (Family Housing Fund), domestic violence (Domestic Abuse Project), and economic justice (Jeremiah Program).
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