Gallery Openings

New Works on Paper by Christopher Olson at Blim

8 PM Saturday, January 9.

After sharing dinner with some friends at the Foundation on Main St., I suggested going to the opening at Blim off the top of my head as something for us gals to do while the boys were jamming.  I first saw Blim at the One of a Kind Show in November where I was impressed by their edgy and hand knit pins, and 80s inspired screen printed apparel.  The show itself didn’t hold too great of interest for me, but it was Saturday night and I wanted to check out the space and maybe score some cheap booze.  Well, there wasn’t any booze – not at least when we showed up promptly at 8pm.  This gave us the opportunity to chat with the owner Yuriko Iga and artist Christopher Olson for awhile before anyone really started showing up, so it worked out well.  We ate some jellybeans too, which was just fine.

The show itself was funny: loose works of collage, highlighter drawings and medicated doodles.  The artists own comments on the different series were handwritten on notebook pages.  Blim did a limited edition shirt with one of the doodles, and Julia bought one for Pierce.  We all thought about how similar these drawings looked to Julia’s own doodles.  They looked pretty good, but I didn’t like that they were so similar to something that Julia probably wouldn’t exhibit in a gallery.  I don’t think so at least. I could be wrong.

There is an interesting element to this show then, in that the works are purposefully kind of thrown together (the collages are made of at most three images that are held onto paper by scotch tape), or almost unconscious or sort of meditative (or medicated) actions.  The highlighter drawings of architectural shapes are informed by certain concepts like de stijl, but the artist states this (on a notebook page) in such a careless way that it seems like an afterthought.  This could be an intentional aesthetic that he is going for, one that syncs well with Blim’s quirky  DIY aesthetic. In the artist statement Olson refers to the idea of  “the secret project” with artists working in different media than they usually work and show in.   I would perhaps call it more of an experimentation, project denotes more thought than seems to be in the works.  But there I go labeling it something else, when Olson is probably trying to escape this kind of action by working in the aesthetic that he is.  From what he wrote about his works, my guess is that he wasn’t too serious about them, so I won’t take them too seriously either.

The show took up a small portion of the space which also includes a store front, lots of screen printing materials, a shelf with videos, and some couches.  There is an open area that is used for Blim’s weekly workshops on screen printing, button making, drawing, and other things.  I spoke with Yuriko who said that when the space first opened three years ago, Blim was a place for performance art, experimental music, video, and DIY crafts.  I don’t know to what extent all of these things still happen or not at Blim, but in order to keep the business viable to the arts community, the focus had to be narrowed – and screen printing is where Yuriko found her niche.

She attended ACAD, but is self taught in the screen printing department.  This was aparent when my boyfriend (a screenprinter) asked her about getting discharge crystals, and she didn’t know what they were.  Despite her lack of knowledge in the commercial scrren printing department, Yuriko is bringing it to the community in a creative, DIY way that I really admire.   The combination of studio and gallery space contributes significantly to community building for and between artists and the public, something that I hope to achieve in my own space eventually.

When I talked to her about this – mentioning that Julia was taking ceramics in school and wanted to get a kiln – Yuriko got excited about a “Blim version of DIY ceramics.”  It’s not exactly what we’re thinking of, but it’s encouraging to talk with someone like Yuriko who has done it herself, and done it well.

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