'Circus' exhibit is artist Joe Olson's latest contribution to Ga. Southern
Georgia Southern Professor Emeritus of Art Joe Olson is shown creating one of his paintings that is part of his 'Ciircus' exhibit at GSU's Center for Art and Theatre.
Special to the Herald
The Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art presents "The Circus, Greatest Show on Earth," an exhibition of paintings by faculty emeritus Joe Olson.
The are was inspired by Olson's memories and the rise and fall of the circus. The exhibition runs through Sept. 10 in the Contemporary Gallery at the Center for Art & Theatre at Georgia Southern. The public is invited to attend an Artist's Talk on Sept. 8 from 5 - 7 p.m. Olson will discuss the images and ideas that shaped his recent work. The department also will hold an artists' reception on Sept. 10from 5-7 p.m. at the Center for Art & Theatre, where visitors can meet and discuss art with Professor Olson.
Growing up in Philadelphia, Olson said he was fortunate to be exposed to diverse art forms through his many trips to major museums. He said: "Painting is an integral part of my life and represents the means by which I can most readily express my thoughts and feelings." As a student working from life, Olson said he learned to "focus on the big things and leave out the unimportant details. As a result, the focus of my work has dealt with capturing the essence and spirit of things seen, felt, imagined and remembered." The circus has always been a fond memory that Olson said he revisits often in his paintings - he started off by drawing monkeys in the margins of his mother's cookbooks. As a child, he loved the "3-Ring" circus and would frequent it annually. Then, the circus was held in massive tents that not only contained the high wire, trapeze, and numerous animals, but also thousands of patrons. Onlookers were over-stimulated by the commotion, exciting acts, colors, noise and adrenalin - all of which are represented in Olson's paintings. With the increase of motion pictures, animal rights, and the shift of residences to suburban homes the circus became an overlooked relic of America's past. This adverse decline is captured in the expressions and interactions of the animals and figures Olson painted. Olson began his career in art in Philadelphia where he received his Master of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Arts, Temple University. He also earned an M.Ed. from Temple University before receiving an invitation from Lamaar Dodd to pursue his D.Ed. at the University of Georgia. In 1969, Olson joined the staff of Georgia Southern College, where he taught various studio art courses including Art Education and Art Appreciation. After 19 years as a faculty member, Olson retired and remained in Statesboro with his wife, Mary. Even now, Olson continues to play an active role in the community as an artist and citizen. Olson has exhibited work all over the eastern seaboard; he has works in both private and permanent collections such as Purdue University, Frank Center Advertising Agency in New York City, Scottish Heritage Society of Statesboro and the Botanical Gardens at Georgia Southern.