Photo Ceramica is the first major exhibition of photographer and ceramicist Peter Olson. Olson’s photographs are printed, repeated, and collaged to encase each ceramic piece. His motifs vary in scale creating a rhythm as they wrap around and across each artwork. When fired, the prints burn away leaving permanent, rusty red colored images from the iron oxide in the ink. His delicately patterned pieces embody fluctuating visual narratives, as kaleidoscopes that span centuries and continents.
Peter Olson’s subjects retain a connection to Western art history and religion, but hone in on his passion; street photography. These vignettes capture the city streets most familiar to the artist, with its harried workers and “angry strangers” as he calls them. The artist delights in the challenge of these increasingly complex surfaces and nuanced patterning of images. Classical art historical references abound, in the artist’s enthusiasm for museums and iconography, spliced with modern people in full motion.
How will historians of future generations view these pots and iconography against the Greeks? Like the shards of ancient vessels and tiles we study in search of knowledge lost, these contemporary fired ceramics fused with iron oxide do not decompose. In this work we can imagine our own images represented, wholly or in shards, at a future site; and wonder how we will be remembered.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.