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Tess Olson Solo Exhibit – Cultivating Imperfection





September 2020 Solo Artist Tess Olson

Ridges, Oil


Cultivating Imperfection, the solo exhibit by oil painter Tess Olson, is a collection of abstract work inspired by the subtle vibrations of the natural world. Waves of water, light, energy, and sound emerge in mysterious patterns on richly layered canvases and suggest secret shapes that hide and hum beneath the surface. The exhibit will be on view at The Art League Gallery September 10-October 4, 2020.

Olson describes her paintings as “full of scars and defects, built-up over a long time.” The artist emphasizes the importance of her technique, which allows for intuitive exploration of color, line, and shape. Olson’s work is seductively ambiguous, tugging at the mind and bewitching the eye. Like a memory, like a bridge, her paintings lead us across the gap between certainty and wonder. Viewers might sense mountains shifting inside Olson’s paintings, or gullies quaked into being. Earth’s sacred vessels, sacred movements, sacred openings.

Her palate is a superb mix of earth tones and energetic jeweled hues. In Visitor’s Wake, the colors were chosen as carefully as river rocks: layers of jasper, olive, shell, and umber form the ripple left behind from a passing Mandarin duck.

Cultivating Imperfection is an ode to process, a celebration of entropy and evolution. Olson reminds us that as we grow, our changes are often imperceptible, and revealed only when we are considered in our entirety.

Tess Olson received her B.F.A in Painting from Syracuse University in 1982. Her lengthy exhibition history features numerous awards, including Best-in-Show in 2017 and 2018. Her work has been exhibited across the Mid-Atlantic Region, including Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Delaware. Currently, Olson lives and works in Northern Virginia.

The Art League Gallery will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00pm-4:00pm. For your safety, masks and temperature checks are required and a limit of 10 persons may be in the gallery at a time.

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