Margaret Pettee Olsen
RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), 1986, BFA
There's been a focus on surveillance in art; how we are being watched, and whether or not there is a tacit acceptance of this surveillance. The other side of the concern for surveillance, and over which we each have some control, is how we edit ourselves online, the redactions we or others might make of what we express, and the value of wide-open expression vs that which is being seen under uninvited scrutiny. My most recent paintings are about value scales of expression and the impact of redaction and re-vision in our own narratives. The history of American Expressionism is the underlayment of my response to these topics within the theatre of painting today.
Margaret Pettee Olsen is an American painter. She grew up in Rochester, New York, where she studied both visual art and dance. After a career-altering injury left her unable to tour as an understudy with American Ballet Theater, she trained her focus on painting. She went on to attend the Rhode Island School of Design. After RISD, Pettee Olsen moved to New York City in 1987. As a young artist, Pettee Olsen found viable work in the limited edition printmaking industry. On Varick Street, she began working with a range of artists and their large-scale print projects including, Robert Motherwell, Frank Stella, James Rosenquist, Barbara Kruger and others. A few years later, she was instrumental in establishing the fine arts limited edition lithography press, Oberon Press, in TriBeCa, as founding curator. At age 24, she was the first woman to be founding-curator of a limited edition lithography press in Manhattan.
While printmaking has influenced her work in terms of her thin application of paint media, Pettee Olsen is primarily known for her conceptually loaded and spatially dynamic abstract paintings which underscore the frenetic pace of our media-driven lives. She considers her large works to be indexes of action as well as gateways into the theater of painting.
Titles such as ‘Wag the Dog/White Washed’ and ‘Generated Buzz’ are suggestive of some of her conceptual concerns. While always a painter, Most recently she has begun the planning stages for several collaborative projects and installations.
Works and documented projects by the artist are held in collections in the United States and Japan, including The Rhode Island School of Design, The private collection of Mark Kostabi, The private collection of Martin Johnson, The David and Annette Raddock Collection, Robinson Waters & O’Dorisio Private Art Collection, and others.
Alternatively, she can be reached at her studio @ 720.440.3099
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