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White Christmas?

Posted on 12/23/2014 at 12:38 PM

We are lamenting the lack of snow on the ground here in Central Iowa. 

To cheer ourselves up, we rounded up some artwork with lots of snow.

photo by David Ottenstein

painting by Larry Welo


photo by Michael Johnson


painting by Michael Brangoccio


Posted on 12/03/2014 at 1:03 PM
We're getting ready for the exhibit that opens Friday.
Come to the opening from 5-7 pm!
Here are some exclusive behind the scenes shots...
Stephen Metcalf's oil works waiting to be installed
We love looking at beauties by Debra Smith.
A room of works by Paula Schuette Kraemer
Some perfect small pieces by Mary Merkel Hess
Gary Olson's herd of creatures
These fantastic push toys by Paul Konchagulian
Invited artist Aaron Tinder's collages that were just delivered.
This Bill Barnes collage made us laugh!
But wait, there's also...FISH BOAT ATTACK
We will see you Friday! Don't forget to stop by 2AU as well, their new work in INSANE.


Posted on 11/20/2014 at 2:12 PM

Did anyone catch this story on On Point today? The story investigated the current resurgence of facsination with the circus and side shows. No one knew that fascination better than the late Byron Burford. One of the most common themes throughout his body of work, the circus and its "freaks" served as a constant source of inspiration and curiosity for Burford. Here are a sampling of circus themed works that we love!

Here's his page on our site and here's wonderfully written obituary from the New York Times. 


Studio Selfie: Edward Avila

Posted on 11/13/2014 at 2:54 PM

A short but sweet #studioselfie this afternoon.

Really looking forward to hearing more from Edward at our Gallery Talk this Saturday at 1:00 pm.

We'll save you a seat.

What I like best about my studio is that everything I need is here - somewhere in all the piles.

Studio Selfie: Priscilla Steele

Posted on 11/06/2014 at 4:32 PM

  We're back with another #studioselfie! Priscilla Steele's work is on exhibit at the gallery right now and will be here for a GALLERY TALK on November 15 at 1:00 pm We asked her to share some images and a little about her studio and she works best.

The habit of working while raising our three children has ever equipped me with a fondness for working while everyone else is sound asleep. There seems to be so much more potential in the pre-dawn darkness than in the bright light of day, or the exhaustion of the evening. This is also a time when I seem most receptive to poetic ideas-- or just an economical turn of phrase.

For instance, this morning's catch was: "the limits of loneliness", and last week it was a chance reading of Wendell Berry that provided me with the profound notion (and title) for a new suite of drawings in progress, "an art that heals is a geography of scars".

They really are the best!

Posted on 10/24/2014 at 4:51 PM
Here's a look at what some of our wonderful artists have been up to recently.
They've been all kinds of busy!
Lovely promo postcards!
An exhibition of Debra Smith's works titled SHIFTING TERRITORY just closed October 18th at the HAW/CONTEMPORARY in Kansas City. Here is a fabulous article about the show. Some of these works featured in SHIFTING TERRITORY will be on exhibit at Olson-Larsen beginning on
December 5.

Luther College in Decorah presented an exhibit of etchings by Larry Welo (Luther Alum!) titled AFTER AND BEFORE from September 5 - October 12. 

Coe College presented a retrospective of Cedar Rapids based John Beckelman's work from September 12 - October 5.  
Kim Hutchison's Assembled was on exhibit at Graceland College from August 25-September 19th. Kim discussed the work featured in an artists talk on September 19th. 
Kim Hutchison's installed works at Graceland College 
LANDFORMS: Drawings by Barbara Fedeler & Sculpture by Rick Knivsland opened September 6 and runs through November 23rd at the Hearst Center for the Arts in Cedar Falls.
Susan Chrysler White is part of a group show at Lehman College titled Source Material. Running from September 6 to January 10, 2015, the exhibit  examines the connection between the conceptual beginnings of a work of art and its finished form, focusing on ideas, processes, techniques, and materials.
In addition to having her work on exhibit at Olson-Larsen right now, Priscilla Steele's work was in an exhibit at the at the ICON gallery in Fairfield in a show called Dialog Human. The exhibit opened on September 5and closes on October 25.


Posted on 09/17/2014 at 10:25 AM

We are beyond excited that we have added four new artists to Olson-Larsen Galleries. So without further adieu, here's a little about each of them.

We had been hearing about Christopher Chiavetta from multiple sources for a while now, and after seeing his work in person at his show with Transient Gallery, we knew we wanted to work with him. Each painting by Christopher Chiavetta begins with a dominant color. Not working with a strategy for completion in mind, he intuitively alternates between defining shapes and patterns while structuring the space around them. Elements of composition—such as foreground and background, horizon line, and perspective—remain important, although not always employed in traditional ways. Of his work he says, "I do not think of the abstract as non-representational. I use abstraction because it allows me to build images that are many things at once: static and in flux, corporeal and ethereal, shadow and light." More about Christopher here

Christopher Chiavetta, Chasm, Oil and acrylic on panel, 36 x 36 inches

We first partnered with Paul Konchagulian to participate in the Clive Art Along the Trail Exhibit this year. His sculpture, Idiot Wind can be seen at 114th Street & Walnut Creek Bridge until mid-October. Paul Konchagulian is an Armenian artist whose grandparents came to America seeking refuge from the Armenian Genocide or what traditionally they referred to as the “Great Crime”. He was raised with a profound sense of his cultural heritage as well as a deep sense of pride and respect for the country they had recently immigrated to. Growing up under the cloud of atrocity often felt overwhelming and learning how to honor his family’s past yet embrace the future has been the driving force behind Paul’s art. Sculpting primarily in steel, Paul believes that this metal doesn’t have to be geometrical or rigid. His vision is to explore the softer more malleable side of steel’s properties while still maintaining its visual presence and strength.

Paul Konchagulian, Big Brush

Upon seeing his work, this statement by Stephen Metcalf, “Simply put, I believe my work is about the act of painting" makes a lot of sense. Digesting that thought further, Stephen writes “My paintings, which are non-objective, have influences in the environment. As a painter, my journey is one of discovery through the exploration of ideas, materials, and process. My techniques, which are my own, were not learned or invented in order to paint but were discovered through the act of painting. Each painting is a record of my journey and I invite you to engage in your own personal dialogue with them."  It's exactly this approach that allows Stephen's work to engage the viewer in an intimate way. Learn more about Stephen and see more work here.
Stephen Metcalf, Dancing til I'm Dizzy, Oil on paper, 22 x 15 inches
When Levi Robb brought his artwork in to be framed, we were instantly drawn in and wanted to know more. A few weeks later we asked him to join the gallery! Growing up on a farm in Southeast Iowa, surrounded by vast expanses of space, dense timberland and the Mississippi River played an important role in shaping Levi as an artist and designer, and the way he visually sees and perceives surroundings. This vernacular has stimulated his obsession with scale, furthermore, how scale can be shifted and manipulated within a painting, print, drawing or sculpture. Robb's 2D work aims to evolve into substance that is sculptural in nature through the exploration of material, space, and repetition. He writes, "My current work is less about a single object or image and rather how the eye reacts to a certain surface, pattern or texture within a particular space. I use the practices of painting, drawing and printmaking to layer media until arriving at a pleasing accumulation. More about Levi here
Levi Robb, Collapse, Printing ink on Japanese paper, 39 x 26 inches

Studio Selfie: Bobbie McKibbin

Posted on 08/01/2014 at 4:57 PM

It's a Friday edition of #studioselfie! Featuring Bobbie McKibbin, whose work will be up at the gallery for about 2 more weeks as part of our annual Landscape Show. Here's what she shared with us about her studio in beautiful Montana.

"I love my studio - everything about it!  I have large north-facing windows that give me wonderful light in which to work. All of the surfaces are easily cleaned from all the pastel dust. It has a nice 11' ceiling with plenty of wall space to hang works-in-progress and finished works and track lighting to light the work. 

I work on more than one image at a time, many times more than 8. I work all times of day and evening – no one time is a particular favorite.  As you can see from the photo my pastels and studio are quite clean. I finished a new body of work in the spring and am currently enjoying all our visitors and taking a bit of a break."

Thanks Bobbie!



Studio Selfie: Gary Bowling

Posted on 07/25/2014 at 4:09 PM

One last #studioselfie for the week! We wanted to be sure to feature all of the artists who are a part of our Gallery Talk tomorrow at 1:00 pm. We loved hearing this description of a day in the life of Gary Bowling. 

"I usually make the half minute walk from our house across our backyard to the studio early each morning and get myself oriented for the day's work. Mid-morning is usually break time with my wife, Linda.  We have coffee, might watch something we have recorded from TV, and catch up on the never ending office minutiae. Office work is the only thing I truly detest about my life as an artist and thankfully,  Linda manages most of it for us.  

I am usually back at work in the studio by noon, and seldom leave before 8:00 or 9:00.  I find that afternoon and evening hours present less distractions to my painting focus.  I actually have almost no sense of what time it is, nor what day it is ... one of the great perks of this artist's life, in my opinion.  When I am working on a particularly engaging piece, I often find myself working until 1 or 2 in the morning without realizing it."

Sounds wonderful! Can't wait to hear more tomorrow! See you then.

Studio Selfie: Larry Welo

Posted on 07/22/2014 at 2:53 PM


Back here again with another installment of our Studio Selfie series. This time with Larry Welo, another artist featured in our current Annual Landscape Show. We asked him to share a few photos and some other tidbits about his workspace. Here's what he shared with us.

"I love spending time in the studio. It is a large space, and I spend much of each day running from one end to the other...also up and down the stairs.  I also spend a lot of time working outdoors. I want to have my subject before me, whether I am doing a painting or an etching.  I did my first etching in the early 1970s. I made my first painting (other than occasional dabbling) in 2012.  The transition to painting began as a 2012 new year's resolution to paint every day. It is one resolution that I have kept. 
My favorite time to be in the studio is when I don't need to be there.  I am relaxed then, and the way I look at my work changes.  It is like having a conversation (or critique might be a better word) with myself.  I try to see the merits in things that I have done and build off of the observations."  
Larry will be here at Olson-Larsen this coming Saturday the 26th, along with other featured landscape artists Gary Bowling and Barbara Fedeler. Join us at 1:00 pm for light snacks, wine and great conversation with these wonderful artists.
We hope to see you then!
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