Erika Olson

Kingston artist, Erika Olson paints images, usually in oil, with saturated colour relationships and intuitive compositions.  Inspired by both still life and emotional content, oftentimes impressionistic, other times fully abstracted. The resulting compositions are simplified and playful.

Artist Statement:

In the first few years of my career, after leaving Concordia University, all of my studios were empty white spaces. I painted abstract paintings influenced by colourists such as Guido Molinari, Howard Hodgkin and Richard Diebenkorn.

In 2004 I was given a space to work in a house that I was looking after.  For the first time I was working in a domestic space filled with plants, pottery and textiles. There was a table in front of a large window with a view of a pasture running down to the St. Lawrence River. I began to experiment with the historically rich motif of the still life in front of a window made familiar by Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard. This was the impetus for my Open Window series which I have continued to revisit as I have moved to different studios and different windows.

These images with saturated colourful relationships and intuitive compositions are always inspired by a real still life and then abstracted. Working with a small number of objects allows me to create personified subjects existing as entities, relating to each other. These groupings are pared down, simplified and somewhat playful.

I often use food as a subject due to its perishable nature and intense cultural importance. Fruits and vegetables have lovely organic shapes and colours which makes them a natural choice to work with.

I paint urgently. Working from life, I paint what I see, but it is processed through my emotional attachment to the subject matter. All of my work evolves directly from my environment and the objects that I find in it. Appearing ordinary and dealing with subject matter like food, or the domestic sphere my work chronicles daily life and elevates these subjects to be worthy of consideration as art.


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