ROSE OLSON: A Gift from the Black Forest

Installation view, Ju Ju Blues, Kingston Gallery, June 2015

Installation view, Ju Ju Blues, Kingston Gallery, June 2015

Rose Olson’s solo exhibition, Ju Ju Blues, is on view at Kingston Gallery through June 28, 2015. The paintings in this show impressed me by continuing to be singularly unique to her oeuvre, while also possessing the capacity to surprise with dramatic colors and precise brush strokes. When I first saw a scramble of dark lines from the corner of my eye on the surface of one of Rose’s new paintings, Gift from the Black Forest, I was enthralled. She would not radically alter the course of the style she has perfected. Her paintings on panel radiate with shimmering light, the result of numerous expertly mixed and applied layers of transparent paint on wood. She arranges colors in horizontal bands, reductive compositions that focus our attention on color and light.

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Gift from the Black Forest, acrylic on black oak, 16 x 9.5 inches, 2015

Upon a closer viewing of this painting, it became evident that the wood introduced these sharp diagonals. Rose thereby created an intriguing variation on her established theme. She selects the wood and the paint with equal care. This piece of wood was given to her as a gift, and after laboriously smoothing and treating its surface, she made it into a painting. In this case, the painting’s grounds is improvisational, anchored by shimmering horizontal bands near the top and bottom borders.

As Rose recently reminded me, each one of her paintings is alive, brought to life first by her unparalleled attention to detail and then sustained by our gazes, each movement or shift in light producing subtle changes in what we see.

Part of this text will be in a brochure published on the occasion of Rose’s solo exhibition on view at Kingston Gallery through the end of June 2015. 

-Shana Dumont Garr

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