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Indepth Arts News:

"Daniel Olson: Small World"
2000-12-02 until 2001-01-14
Cambridge Galleries
Cambridge, ON, CA Canada

The Cambridge Galleries is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the work of Daniel Olson.  Daniel Olson: Small World, will include a large selection of the artist‚s multiples and book works and will feature the premiere of Small World, a slow-motion, dual screen video projection. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, designed by Lewis Nicholson and featuring an essay by composer, musician and essayist Martin Arnold and an interview with the artist by Christina Ritchie, assistant curator of contemporary art the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Daniel Olson was born in Los Angeles in 1955. He attended high school and post-secondary education in Nova Scotia where he completed university degrees in mathematics, architecture and visual arts. Olson studied visual arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and completed a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts at York University in Toronto, where he currently lives and works.

Daniel Olson produces installations that incorporate audio and video elements; multiples, often in the form of interactive objects (sound toys for example), book works, and performances, mostly incorporating sound elements, not always musical, in impromptu public situations or in a gallery context. He also produces independent audio works, some of which are the sound elements from performances and installations.

The variety of Olson's work can be bewildering. He states that,

I'm happy to work in response to anything that happens to intrigue, annoy or perplex me – even if it is at the expense of an apparently unified body of work. I tend to respond playfully – sometimes mischievously, if not subversively – to contexts, conventions or expectations which I encounter in my personal life or in more formally defined cultural situations. Sometimes this response might actually lead to an art project, sometimes not. My studio practice might best be described as 'fooling around at a desk in the corner.'

Olson's work is often characterized by its intimate scale. His cannibalized and reconstructed toys are to be held in the hand and played with. They can be charmingly melancholic – pathetic machines that play sad little tunes – or they can they can be wickedly fun. Olson makes no apologies for the latter:

It is my opinion that society does not place enough value on play and humour as legitimate responses to the world in which we live.

The exhibition Small World, at the Cambridge Galleries, will feature a slow-motion, dual screen video projection, shot in extreme close-up, of the artist simultaneously playing two of his music boxes, with his right and left hands respectively. (Olson has used the idea of two non-synchronized, non-tuned songs playing together in the left and right ears in past performances including Stereo A/V, which was shown at the Cold City Gallery in Toronto in 1998). The artist is interested in what happens around the hearing of two tunes distinctly, (in this case When You Wish Upon A Star and It’s A Small World After All), while at the same time, not necessarily being able to isolate or identify them. He is also interested in the effect of a tune slowed down beyond recognition. The two videos are on endless repeat and thus the sound, which separates into left and right channels, blends in the room always slightly differently.


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