Dark Abstraction, c. 1959
Oil on canvas
50 3/4 x 72 3/4 inches
Price Upon Request
Don Olsen spent the summer of 1954 studying with Hans Hofmann, one of the seminal influences in mid-century modernism. During his career, he worked through many of the abstract languages of art, from “BRUSHED-ACTION PAINTING” (abstract expressionism) to “HARD- EDGE” (minimalism). He may have understood the intent of abstract expression better than any other Utahn.
With his painting, Olsen reached an immediacy, involvement, and energy level seldom attained by his Utah peers. The paint seems to explode off the canvas. His work protests the niceties of his colleagues and escapes to art of a different nature at its most ferocious. In Olsens word,“Painting is not an illusion. A painting can only be itself; it does not simulate, borrow from, or pretend to be anything outside itself. It is a real thing and its reality lies in being itself. A painting reveals the internal expression of the artist and has nothing to do with observation of visual facts”.