Friday, November 18, 2011

First visit: Oleson Gallery

Oleson Gallery, exterior view

 Last Saturday, on a busy St. Pete Saturday night Artwalk, I chanced into the recently-opened Oleson gallery, next to the State Theater. It is a so-called "vanity" gallery, in that is carries mainly the work of its owner, the artist James Oleson. He also had a video installation running with poems by his wife.

James Oleson, "Public Market"

Oleson works with a variety of media. In "Public Market", we see a multi-media work involving painting, collage and stressed metal. There's an image of a grimacing, threatening dog, with the word "Market" below him, and below that the word "Win". Not a friendly market, and the stressed metal on which it lies, with its rusty, deep scratches implies that it's been this way for some time. This work is about five feet tall.

James Oleson, "Holes III"

Another multimedia work, in "Holes, III", we see through a porthole cut into a stressed metal panel, with bolts through it, a painted blue elephant's head. The creature's face looks nostalgic/wistful. Looking through this hole one impression is that of being distant from nature, and that it is stressed, like the metal and contained.

Work by James Oleson

On the right is a painting by the artist of two fish with cat faces. This is maybe 30x40", with beautifully modulated color and form.

" I visualize the objects floating in the air waiting for their chance to twist and dive into the sculptures not yet born, that constantly swim in my mind."

   [From the artists' statement at the MAC site]

The artist Oleson with "Monkey Shines"

Here's the artist with one of his works. Note the recurring natural, constrained view of Nature. James teaches at the Morean Arts Center.

Congratulations to Oleson on his new gallery, which is located at 685 Central Ave. St Pete. The artist can be reached at 727.600.4953 or

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