Alex Olson, ‘Proposal (Mars)’, 2014, CalArts Benefit

The paintings of ever-inventive Alex Olson are records of their own creation. “I want the work to exist in this other zone, neither sculpture nor stand-in, but more like a proposal,” she has said—an apt explanation for this series’ title. “It offers a contained visual experience that presents a set of signs on its surface for negotiation.”

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Attn: Laura Riggen
24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

About Alex Olson

Alex Olson’s works might appear abstract, but that’s not how she would choose to refer to them: “In fact, the way I approach painting is almost the opposite in that nothing is an abstraction of something else,” she says. “It literally is what it is.” Olson’s paintings aim to be exact records of how they were made, self-evident in their construction. What characterize her works are layers of marks, made not only by traditional means of painting, but also with her fingers, scraping away and dragging the paint to create textured surfaces. Her canvases are also notable for their incredibly thin stretchers, giving the impression of the painting being almost flush with the wall. Her visual inspiration comes from a wide range of sources, including textile design, architectural surfaces, facades, and graphic design.

American, b. 1978, Boston, Massachusetts, based in Los Angeles, California