Rebecca Olsen, is an Italy based artist, born in Florence, Italy to American artist parents and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Over the last twenty years as Executive Director and co-founder of SRISA, Santa Reparata International School of Art, she has helped to build SRISA into one of the leading art schools in Florence, Italy. As co-curator of the SRISA Gallery, Rebecca curated and co-curated the nearly 40 exhibitions working with artists and curators to build SRISA Gallery into a nationally and internationally recognized non-profit Art space for Artists from around the globe. She has exhibited her work internationally and is currently represented by the Whitegrid gallery in Berlin.
A multimedia artist, Olsen works in Printmaking, Painting, Drawing, Photography and most recently sculpture and video, creating elaborate geometric, abstractions that reference cityscapes. Her process is deeply embedded in her work, which exists in a state of continual revision and re-elaboration by inviting us into a world of endless possibility.
This exhibition for the Hunt Gallery was originally scheduled to happen in the Fall of 2020 and for obvious reasons had to be cancelled and repurposed virtually. The title for the exhibition, River of Consciousness, was taken from Author and Neuroscientist Oliver Sacks’ book by the same name. It examines the ways in which our mind/brain/s experience and create our perceived reality and consciousness. Olsen, a person whose mind and hands are rarely idle, chose this title as she had been listening to audiobooks of Sacks while working in the studio.
Olsen found that Sacks’ words were both an explanation of something about her work but also an influence on how she was thinking about the work as it developed. It, therefore, inspired her to fully explore her visual process and translate it in the studio. This body of work is an exploration of her memory of the city. Each work can be viewed as a snapshot of the visual experience of City/ City-ness. All the works in the exhibition are structures – infinite iterations that are meant to dialog with one another. Each work being a progenitor of the other and offering new ways of experiencing and thinking about each individual work. The wooden blocks, “Infinite Iterations: City Block Series #1” are meant to be touched and arranged. They ask the audience to experience the process behind the work and to contemplate, form, space, city-ness, memory and our experience of the materials. It is important to Olsen that this work not only be about her visual memory but that it stimulates the audience to contemplate their own experience and memory as it relates to that space.
While the pandemic has been so destructive, we can choose to be passive participants or to utilize the changes around us to grow. The need to translate a work that was to be presented in person to an audience that would be asked to participate in the work was a challenge that took the exhibition and Olsen’s work in a new direction. The creation of a stop-motion video was new to her and her process. But ultimately it gave Olsen the opportunity to address different formats and ultimately deepened her own research and thoughts about how to translate her ideas.
Hunt Gallery, Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2021 AT 12 AM UTC+01