On Friday, September 7, Olson-Larsen Galleries will host an opening reception for an exhibition of new works by Michael Johnson, Dan Mason and Mary Merkel-Hess. The reception is from 5-7 pm.
Most of Michael Johnson’s evocative photographs are landscapes from a “driftless” area of Illinois, which escaped the last Midwestern glacier. Appropriate to Johnson’s captured images of the “fresh beauty of the natural world” are his superb photographic techniques. Made from large negatives in a view camera, Johnson’s work achieves a richness of tone and precision of detail his works in museums and private collections such as The Art Institute of Chicago, The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Ariz. and the San Jose Museum of Art.
Dan Mason’s paintings give the viewer a glimpse of a recognizable yet uncommon place. Both the landscape and architectural elements are radically simplified, to express an underlying geometry and sense of order. Dan paints on linen, a fabric he chose because its “wide variety of weave contributes to the sense of texture”. He currently teaches at North Hennepin Community College in Minnesota. Dan’s paintings are in the corporate collections of Target Corporation, Norwest, Star Tribune of Minneapolis/St. Paul, General Mills, Dayton Hudson, Unisys, Faegre & Benson LLP, Allied Insurance, and Wells Fargo.
Like an unusual object in nature, a work by Mary Merkel-Hess first arrests attention, then inspires awe. She works with natural (or nearly-natural) materials and intricate techniques to create unique works —powerful in their delicacy. Not shown before by Olson-Larsen are her lighted paper sculptures. Mary’s work is in permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Art and Design in New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass. and the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. She currently resides in Iowa City.