Museums inspire Olson’s latest exhibition

MINOT, N.D. – Linda Olson rarely passes by a museum with at least taking a peek inside.

“Whenever I get close to a museum, I must visit,” she said. “I usually frequent my favorite parts of the museum — ceramics and items of antiquity.”

The self-described “diehard museum visitor,” used that inspiration for her latest exhibition, the aptly titled, “Museum Inspired,” opening at The Arts Center in Jamestown on Dec. 15. The exhibition will also tour The Mondak Heritage Center in Sydney, Montana; the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association in Bismarck; and the Northwest Arts Center on the Minot State campus.

The Jamestown show runs from Dec. 15 to Jan. 28, 2023 with an opening reception on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. The reception is titled Perfectly Paired: A Wine and Cheese Gallery Experience and is $40 per person.

“At The Arts Center, the receptions have become more elaborate with a wine and charcuterie event paired with the exhibition,” Olson said. “Often, people will support what they have a connection to, with local artists being better supported. Pairings is a way for them to celebrate and get more people to attend artists gatherings, when they may not be as familiar with the artist.”

Olson, who is the chair of the Division of Art and Professional Communication at Minot State, originally arranged for a single exhibition at The Arts Center and then proposed an exhibition to the North Dakota Art Gallery Association (NDAGA). Through the NDAGA, three other galleries were added.

“The proposal is presented to the gallery representatives at the annual NDAGA meeting,” she explained. “If interest warrants, they put together a cooperative tour. Individual gallery representatives choose artists to share in their galleries. It is an honor to be chosen by the directors to tour through the Gallery Association.”

The professor of ceramics tends to frequent the ceramics sections of museums and has a special fondness in Chinese and Korean celadon ceramics featured at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She also can’t pass up an opportunity to visit the American Wing at the Chicago Art Institute, the ancient artworks at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and St. Louis Art Museum.

“This process has become like visiting old friends, as I get a chance to revisit a museum. I love the designs of the Chinese and Korean ceramics, like the 11th-12th Century Chinese peony design on the ceramic pillow at the Minneapolis Institute of Art that I recreated on several of my own artworks,” Olson said. “These works continue to influence my own art making.

“I also rail against the modernist perception that you must work in a single series to gain reputation as a serious artist. I never have wanted that kind of reputation. I would rather share my work regionally and explore many avenues. I have always been inspired by the color theorists, and my fused glass work, ‘Homage to Josef,’ does pay homage to the series, ‘Homage to the Square.’

While she is excited to be featured in each of the four venues, having the Northwest Arts Center at MSU as the anchor leg of the exhibition is especially satisfying.

“I am looking forward to the final venue in the Northwest Art Center, as I am proud of the world class arts center that we enjoy here on campus,” Olson said. “It surprises me to learn that most of our students have not visited a gallery or museum, and don’t know what insight the experience can bring to one’s life.

“I am hoping that the visitors to the exhibition might connect with the works that I have made, reflect on their own museum visits, or make plans to check some out next time they are able.”

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Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 12/14/22   

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