Through March 16
In 1995, NASA engineers pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at a small and completely black section of space located in the constellation Ursa Major. Looking past the noise from close stars and galaxies, NASA scientists were able to look through a small opening of darkness to observe a previously unseen field of over three thousand galaxies. Erik Olson’s large-scale painting Deep Field is based on this revelation, quite possibly the most enigmatic, mysterious but utterly factual image ever discovered.
The exhibition includes a series of star-fields painted on an ultra-black, space-age coating-material that absorbs 99 percent of visible light. DS Black is currently flying on multiple missions for NASA. One of these projects, the recently launched TESS (Terrestrial Exoplanet Survey Satellite) has within the past year spotted thousands of previously unknown planets . Olson is the first artist to use this black coating as a painting surface.
Olson uses primarily factual and simple gravity-based paint-handling; the drip, the pour, the splatter the blob and the spray—they are essentially Color-Field paintings of the Cosmos. The surfaces are rich, tactile, saturated, and chewy and from various distances read as pure abstraction as well as illusion. The space paintings are really portraits, portraits of space, and express the whole Jungian duality of man thing-- the powerful and undeniable metaphor between the features of the universe and the equally enigmatic features of the soul and self.
Olson graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, in Vancouver in 2007. In 2014/2015, he attended the acclaimed art academy, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as a guest-student of Peter Doig. Olson has recently had solo exhibitions at Luis de Jesus Los Angeles, Michael Gibson Gallery in London Ontario as well as Viviane Art, Calgary. This is his third solo exhibition at BravinLee Programs. He currently lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.