Anti? Art

Filed under: Art Reviews,Reviews — doktorjohn October 19, 2002 @ 11:45 pm

Exhibition of Paintings by Skot Olsen
FUSE GALLERY, 93 Second Avenue, NYC
September 7 through October 19, 2002

The Fuse Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village once again treats denizens of New York’s cutting-edge art scene to a stunning and highly thought-provoking exhibit through October 19, 2002. Opening reception for paintings by Skot Olsen was held at on Saturday September 7. Olsen graduated north Jersey’s Joe Kubert School. His bizarre acrylic paintings are busy, gaudy and cluttered, but still retain influence of the Kubert School, which is famous for cartooning and comic books.

Of the 20 or so paintings on display, the majority told grotesque stories with an irreverent flavor, satirizing low-down human foolishness, both institutional and individual. Thus, there were weirdly distorted caricatures of hideously ugly priests, an overtly demented insomniac, some warty-nosed religious fanatics, and a decaying, wrinkled belle of the Old South. These were in the form of highly elaborate, complex stories and were accompanied by explanatory notes adjacent to each painting. Many were informative, even educational, historical narratives.

Seven other works were surreal, bio-sexual inventions, vaguely reminiscent of genitals and internal organs: solitary fantasy figures, as intensely detailed as color illustrations of autopsy specimens.

The artwork is so subversive, so transgressive, that we were expecting to see maybe a shaven-headed, multiple-tattooed anarchist, but were surprised to find Skot a clean-cut, baby-faced and modest young man whose only outward manifestations of rebellion were a pair of earlobe studs. Having graduated in 1991 from art school, the 32 year-old Olsen was able to “quit the day job” in 1995 and is pursued by a growing number of collectors for his works which bring in from $3000 to $8000 a piece. Not too much, one might add, for these highly accomplished, expertly-executed paintings which combine complex and engaging scenarios with wit, wisdom, iconoclasm and spectacular visual interest.
Link yourself, if you’re interested, to Skot Olsen’s website

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