Olson brings ‘Museum Inspiration’ to Northwest Arts Center

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University’s Linda Olson is bringing her “Museum Inspiration” exhibition to the Northwest Arts Center thanks in part to the North Dakota Art Gallery Association (NDAGA).

Olson, who is the chair of MSU’s Division of Art and Professional Communication as well as a professor of art, originally arranged for a single exhibition at The Arts Center in Jamestown. Then it was proposed as a tour adding MSU’s Northwest Arts Center  to stops at The Mondak Heritage Center in Sydney, Montana and the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association in Bismarck.

“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 exhibition will run from Nov. 16 to Dec. 23 at the Northwest Arts Center, located in the lower level, southside of the Gordon B. Olson Library. There will be an opening reception for "Museum Inspiration" on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Olson used her passion as a self-described “diehard museum visitor” for her latest exhibition, noting she rarely passes by a museum without at least peeking inside. 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.

"I am a maker. I love making objects. I get lost in the process, and I find getting lost the most important aspect of making,” Olson said. “Art objects in history and antiquity, and thus museums, are a primary inspiration for my work. Chinese celadon vessels, Greek amphoras, and Japanese tea bowls are some of the areas that inform my own ceramic making."

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.’”

Having a leg of the exhibition at Minot State is especially satisfying.

“I am looking forward to showcasing my work at 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.”

The NDAGA, a statewide service organization for non-profit museums and galleries,  is the title sponsor for the exhibition along with a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Northwest Arts Center is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 1-5 p.m., and by special arrangement. It is closed holidays.

About Minot State University
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: 11/15/23   

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