With bold colour and exuberant brushwork, Erik Olson combines classically based portraiture with a modernist’s impulse. At once playful, genuine and expressionistic, his paintings depict amplified characters and spaces emerging as if from dreams. Fragmented figures, objects and places culled from diverse and disparate sources are reassembled as cohesive visions of reality. Seemingly frenetic at first glance, the compositions are revealed to have a surprisingly harmonious asymmetry.
Born in Calgary in 1982, Olson has travelled extensively. With a degree from the Emily Carr University, his work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery of England, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Art Gallery of Calgary, the University of Wisconsin / Milwaukee Union Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Several paintings are in the public collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, as well as numerous private and corporate collections.