Erik Olson


12 JUNE – 19 JULY, 2020

"Among the Multitude"

“Among the men and women, the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else—not parent, wife, husband, brother, child,

any nearer than I am;
Some are baffled—But that one is not—that one knows me.

Ah, lover and perfect equal!
I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint indirections;
And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the like in you.”

Walt Whitman


VIVIANEART is proud to present a solo exhibition of new works on paper by Canadian artist Erik Olson. Featuring sixteen portraits, all black and white made with oil stick and charcoal, this new series was created during the artist’s recent isolation in his Düsseldorf based home and studio.  The poem by Walt Whitman, read in the context of personal sequestration, is the poignant inspiration for these drawings.


Created in the spring of 2020, the drawings depict the rich emotions of longing and need for connection felt during the splendour of the season, but drained of colour by isolation. The need to discover the likeness in others is shrouded by circumstance, and the force of nature, so compelling and relentless, is sublimated by events.


Olson earned a bachelor’s degree from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2007). In 2014/2015, he attended the acclaimed Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, as a guest student of internationally renowned artist/professor Peter Doig. In the fall of 2018, Olson’s works were featured in Cosmos, an exhibition organized by the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Canada. Olson has been the subject of exhibitions in major cities across Canada and internationally in Europe and the United States. He currently lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.


Erik’s portraits will grace the walls of the gallery in our brand-new location in Inglewood, Calgary from 12 June – 19 July 2020. We look forward to welcoming old friends and new to our beautiful new space. We will celebrate “Among the Multitude” with a virtual opening event, an Instagram Live with Erik Olson from Dusseldorf, Friday, 12 June 2020 from 5:00 – 6:00pm MST. Please join us to toast the artist, this powerful new work and our new gallery space.

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