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Olson, Tim


Tim Olson was born in Marathon, Iowa in 1962. He has worked as a photographer and has exhibited in the ARC Gallery in Chicago, the Des Moines Art Center, and the Sioux City Art Center. Although he grew up in Iowa, for the past twenty years he has lived in Los Angles and Chicago. In 2002 he moved to Dubuque with his wife and son. This is his first show of paintings and drawings.


I started the work in this show with the idea of creating a set of alternative postcards, parodies of tourist-friendly artwork and cards picturing familiar scenes. In fact, the title of this show comes from a stamp of authenticity sometimes found on the back of scenic cardss?Authentic (your city, state or institution here) Scene>?printed vertically, dividing the section designated, this space for writing messages,, from the section designated, this space for address only..

The first drawings connected with this postcard idea started with a specific story line or joke (for instance the idea of inserting a domestic disturbance into a scenic view of the city). However, as I began to look at Dubuque and to build up a stock-pile of photographs to draw from, I became less interested in fictional, cartoon subject matter, and was instead drawn to both the visual beauty of Dubuque and to the incongruities created by years of building, erasing, and re-building its partssone time for reasons of utility, one time for reasons of aesthetics, and other times for reasons impossible to fathom. I started to explore the parking lots, industry, and plots of urban no-manns-land left by a city expanding outward, leaving its center stretched paper-thin.

For me the best idea is rarely the first ideaaitts much more likely to be the thirteenth idea. The struggle of working out ideas of composition, color and line, one on top of one another, all while trying to retain a high level of clarity, plainly shows in the finished drawings and paintings. In some ways that struggle becomes the drawing style. What is that style? Cartoon-Expressionism? Naave-Academic? Picturesque-Messiness? All of the above? IIm not sure. But I do think, in the end, these drawings and paintings will make a nice set of postcards.

Tim Olson
Click thumbnails to enlarge.

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