A Painterly Photographer
Each week I am highlighting another photographer in our show “Discerning Eyes”. This week Earl Olsen is in the spotlight. Earl is a photographer but I would say he really is a painter and his medium is the camera. He has such a painterly eye and sees the most amazing things in the ordinary.
For instance, we have several photographs Earl took of driftwood. We all walk by driftwood on the beach, but rarely see what Earl sees. His photographs bring out the texture of the wood and suddenly hidden designs seem to emerge. By playing digitally with the image he transforms the usual into the unusual. If you study this image you will start to see multiple faces within faces and suddenly the Starwars character Jabba the Hut pops out! I find myself staring at it trying to find more faces. It’s certainly an interactive piece of artwork.
This photograph is one of the most beautiful we have in the gallery. People look at it and swear it's a painting, but it is a photograph. The colors and the composition are perfect but so too is the texture. The softness of the foreground and the crisp tree that is totally in focus in the center of the photograph illustrate Earl's artistic talent. When people walk into the gallery they are drawn right to it.
Known for his landscapes, Earl has several in this show. The snow peaked mountains with soft white clouds floating above them is a classic. But I continue to be drawn back to the driftwood photos. The texture and the brilliant orange color of the fungi contrast with the soft gray of the beach logs. You want to reach out and touch them. Again it’s that painterly eye seeing things we might never notice.
If you haven’t had a chance to catch this show it continues through April 29. Rich Frishman, Kim Tinuviel, Skip Smith and Ed Severinghaus round out this show with unusual work that highlights their talents. One of the things I really have enjoyed in this show is the interactive pieces. Several of the photographs draw people in to study and really look at the work. This kind of art is great anywhere but perfect for public spaces such as offices or showrooms.