Olson-Larsen Galleries Manager, Alyss Vernon recently visited and photographed Gary Olson's studio.Enjoy a glimpse into his world through her lens!
The beginnings of new work in progress.
Gary has been involved with Olson-Larsen Galleries for nearly its entire history. In 1979, Marlene Olson and Ann Larsen took over Jan Shotwell’s gallery and Gary was there to lend his wife a hand with whatever needed to be done. He had a large role in installing the distinguishing wood ceiling that still remains in the main gallery today and garners commentary from guests weekly. The gallery exhibits what Gary describes as his “serious work”, framed compositions of small objects and wire seemingly suspended in compressed space between sheets of Plexiglas.
Installation image from Gary's work exhibited in "New Work", October 2017 at Olson-Larsen Galleries
Installation detail from Gary's work exhibited in "New Work", October 2017 at Olson-Larsen Galleries
Although the “serious work” is thought provoking and successful, the sculptures Gary creates certainly speak to his innate sense of materiality. The care and appreciation he has for objects became even more apparent when I visited Gary’s studio about 30 minutes east from the gallery. Gary and Marlene live in the same house Gary grew up in. Past the main house, there is a garage, separate studio, and guesthouse where the O-L frame shop was housed until 2010 when it was moved to the gallery. In walking the grounds with Gary, it is evident that the Olson’s are both artists and master gardeners. There are sculptures and labeled plants strategically placed throughout. The day I was there, mulch was being collected, distributed, or burned from the vestiges of what used to be a Christmas tree farm on one side of the property. The trees that remain were left to grow larger than living room appropriate and no longer line up in tidy rows as they once did.
After showing me around, Gary and I put our masks on and went inside his studio. I enjoyed listening to him speak about each work in progress, where it started and where it might be headed– both literally and metaphorically. Everywhere I looked, I noticed a different item and I wondered what its fate might be. Re-purposing existing materials and giving them a different life seems to be a skill Gary has been practicing and will continue to practice for years to come.