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Today in Valley Junction!

Posted on 07/23/2013 at 9:50 AM

RAGBRAI ® riders are already beginning to roam the streets of Valley Junction!  

We're ready with snacks and wine galore.  

Our new show is up and looking fantastic!

 Connie and Carson Ode are right outside our doors with their fabulous books Celebrate IOWA and IOWA - Spaces, Places, Faces.

There's so much to see and do - hope to see you here!

Don't miss artist Carlos Ferguson at the State Historical Building for the day!



Posted on 07/17/2013 at 11:45 AM

Our custom frame shop does a lot of reframing for clients.  We usually say that if something was framed more than 20 years ago, you should have it inspected, because more than likely the materials used were not conservation quality. Over time, acid burn damages the artwork and compromises not only the value of the piece, but alters the color and causes the materials to deteriorate. Plus, updating framing and matting is a great way to freshen up the look of artwork. 

This lovely watercolor came in today and we thought we'd share the process of getting it cleaned up.

The client wants to reuse the original frame, which was built by the artist, but get a new mat, backing and glass for the piece.  

The date on the piece is 1946 and Mark, our framing guru, estimated that it was framed not much later than that. We think the piece is actually in pretty good shape considering how long it's been in this frame!

We looked at some mat options, the green looks nice, but a clean neutral is always a good choice, maybe we can do both.  Decisions, decisions...stay tuned and we'll post some "After" images of this piece!

What are you doing this weekend?

Posted on 07/12/2013 at 9:43 AM

If summer settling in has you feeling a little aimless, don't worry, there is plenty to do!  Beginning this weekend, the Home Show Expo 2013 is showcasing 11 homes in the Bent Creek Estates neighborhood of Urbandale.  Olson-Larsen collaborated with designer Deb Phillips to place artwork by John BeckelmanByron BurfordBarbara FedelerMichael JohnsonBrian RobertsJeanine Coupe Ryding and Debra Smith throughout the show home at 15405 Plum Drive.  These homes are beyond fabulous, and the designers did an amazing job.  We're excited to be a part of the expo and encourage you to check it out.    

Textile work by Debra Smith 

RAGBRAI is coming through Valley Junction on July 23rd!  We’re hosting a special preview of our upcoming exhibit with a fun “spin” on our traditional art openings. The riders will be in Valley Junction from 10-5 and there are many events planned throughout the day.  Look here for more information. 

If you don’t feel like joining the crowd on the 23rd, make sure to join us on July 26th from 5-7 pm for the official opening reception of Works on Paper.  We love this brand new piece by Amy Worthen, isn't it gorgeous? Amy's work, along with that of 5 other printmakers will be on view until August 30th.  

 Amy Worthen, Walk in the Dolomites, Red, Engraving with watercolor

Did we miss anything? What else is going on in the next couple of weeks?



Posted on 07/02/2013 at 10:49 AM

 From thick, shadowy forests to soaring canyon heights to colorful city streets and dusty country roads, the natural beauty of our great country is awe-inspiring.

From all of us at Olson-Larsen Galleries, Happy Fourth of July!


Bobbie McKibbin, Road with Cool Shadows, Pastel, 25 x 36 inches

Rod Massey, Northeast, Summer, Oil on panel, 18 x 30 inches

Stuart Klipper, Colorado River from Point Imperial..., Color Photograph

David Gordinier, Untitled, Oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches



Posted on 06/27/2013 at 9:43 AM

We’ve added some new faces to the gallery over the last year and a half and we’re excited for you to get to know them and their work.   

We were introduced to Anna Lambrini Moisiadis’ work when she participated in Project Spaces during last year’s Artstop.  Her installation at BNIM Architects was a stand out and one of our favorites amongst the public art exhibits. So when she agreed to participate in our annual Small Works Show, and then to join the gallery, we were thrilled. 

Anna's paper sculptures Chimera 2  and Lift at BNIM Architects for Project Spaces, 2012

These small pieces from her series Lilika, were inspired by the intricate lacework and embroidery her grandmother used to make. With this kind of handwork, repeated movements create spaces, little windows, that let light through and transform the textile into something delicate and beautiful.   

Lilika 7, 5 x 5.5 inches, Intaglio and embroidery

Anna writes “I use the same artistic process to create my artwork, turning commonplace mediums, like paper and thread, into a diversely layered object, which entices the viewer to explore the depths of its metamorphosis.  Through this way of working, I have made aesthetic discoveries: specifically, the importance of the touch of the hand and the imperfections left behind.  These imperfections are the layers of the art process.  They are the history of the piece and reflect what it means to be human: an endeavor for perfection with the limitations of our physiological and psychological state.”

Lilika 1, 5 x 5.5 inches, Intaglio and embroidery

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Anna spent many summers in her father’s hometown of Ioannina in Northwestern Greece. The colors and textures of this region of the Mediterranean were the foundation and inspiration of her art career.  She received her Bachelors in Liberal Arts from Hampshire College, in Amherst MA, with a concentration in printmaking, and her MFA from UW-Madison in 2009.  Her work has appeared in a number national and international shows, including a piece at the National Academy Museum in New York City, 3 pieces at the Hellenic Museum in Chicago, and a piece in a traveling show, Objectivos Moviles/Moving Targets, that originated in Buenos Aires and moves throughout South America.

Her articulate sensibility is exactly what makes Anna’s work shine. It’s incredibly thoughtful, but not over-thought. For some artwork, a small tear in the paper or unraveled piece of thread could mean it was “damaged”, for Anna’s work, it would add meaning – and that’s refreshing. 

See more of Anna’s work on our website and hers.

Great Heights

Posted on 06/18/2013 at 8:17 PM

Artwork can define the mood and be the focal point of any space. There are many approaches to displaying artwork and lots of opinions about what works best.  Whether your look is formal or funky, one guideline that we recommend following is hanging work so that the center of the piece is 58 inches from the floor. This placement works whether viewer is seated or standing.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting it right:

Measure the height of the piece, say it’s 24 inches, divide in ½ to get 12.

Measure from the wire to the top of the frame, say that’s 3 inches.

Subtract 3 from 12 to get 9, and add to 58, which is 67.

Your hook goes in at 67 inches and the piece is now centered at 58 inches.

It’s these kinds of details that can really elevate the look of the artwork and the space it’s in. 

A Bit of History

Posted on 06/12/2013 at 2:11 PM

During our belated spring-cleaning last week we found several older news articles that related to the gallery. Some were about past shows, others about artists that we represent, and one was a feature story on the visionary Jan Shotwell. For those of you who don’t know her name (there can’t be many of you), Jan was a most beloved arts champion and the founder of what would become Olson-Larsen Galleries.

An artist herself, Jan was an accomplished painter. She opened Jan’s Gallery here at 203 5th Street in 1970. She represented local and regional artists including a few who are still represented by Olson-Larsen today. Fueled by her passion for the arts Jan’s endeavors were amazingly altruistic and community focused. She boosted artist’s careers, had a hand in developing Valley Junction as a destination neighborhood, started an artist co-op, served on boards, and on and on. To this day, it’s hard to find an arts-related anything in our community that Jan isn’t connected to.

We feel fortunate to be a part of her legacy. We’d love it if you shared a thought or story about Jan with us in the comments below.  

Hello and welcome!

Posted on 06/04/2013 at 9:11 AM

We are thrilled to have a brand new website and this new spot to connect. We hope what you find here is informative and interesting. If there’s something you’d like to see featured here, be it a step-by-step tutorial for matting a photograph or defining what intaglio actually means, we want to hear from you.

The gallery has a busy summer ahead with two fantastic shows lined up. June 14th, our Annual Landscape Show features four very different takes on landscape. Using pastel, oil and photography, the four featured artists each define a distinct sense of place, from secluded rural settings to busy urban streets. The Landscape Show opening reception is from 5-7 pm on June 14th

At the end of July we will open Works on Paper with the work of five printmakers. This show has something for everyone, abstract and realistic prints done using an array of techniques and processes. Join us from 5-7 pm on July 26th at the opening reception. Our mid-summer opening is annually in conjunction with 2AU, which will feature the work of jeweler Sena Shebaro. 

We look forward to seeing you in the gallery!

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