I recently went to see the work up in the Kingston Gallery through March 30, “Light Moves”. In daylight the gallery was glowing.
Rose Olson’s paintings are an emanation and a reflection at the same time, much like the elements of nature (water, sky) reflect and refract how and what we perceive. These new paintings remind me of Agnes Martin, that is if Agnes Martin were to key up her colors to a very high pitch and abandon the emptiness of the desert. The similarity of course in both artists’ work is the reference to landscape and to geography without the actual representation. These paintings are slow. Experienced as a whole, they make sense as if they were a unit, connected by their horizontality.
Rose’s work also brings to mind the 19th century American Luminists, whose view of nature as one of ‘illumination’ was shared with the Transcendental movement. She says that color has a sharpening aspect – affecting our senses and intellect simultaneously. The predominate use of pink, yellow and orange feel not of our climate or sensibility, and the delicate surfaces belie the impact of the palette. The colors push against the edges of the support, transforming and transcending the wood and the grain, which becomes part of the image, pushing back against the color. They are imperative as objects and are also evocative of something beyond their material selves. As with all art which is compelling, the paintings act as a projection, precisely because the viewer is invited to see both themselves and the world in a new way.