Reviews + Related

Ten More Shows to See Now!

Excerpt from “Ten more shows to see now!”

Installation view of Margaret Pettee Olsen’s Relay at 808 Projects.

Installation view of Margaret Pettee Olsen’s Relay at 808 Projects.
Courtesy of Wayne Rogers, 808 Projects.

Margaret Pettee Olsen. The impressive Margaret Pettee Olsen: Relay is at 808 Projects. Made up of the Colorado artist’s mostly large, all-over abstracts, the show was curated by art historian and art writer Stephanie Grilli. The pieces are richly layered: The bottom-most coat comprises vaporous blacks set against a light-colored ground with tones that range from off-white to amber. They almost look photographic until you notice there are no actual images; it just looks like there are. As it turns out, Pettee Olsen is referencing actual print-making: She pulled prints for contemporary masters. On top of this layer, automatist brushstrokes, some very wide and bold, obscure the underlying black and light field. Over that, she “edits” out part of the compositions with hard-edged shapes that define the surfaces, with the other layers falling back into imaginary space. One interesting aspect of these paintings is the way that she juxtaposes related colors to create what appear to be “flashes,” where the color shifts as you walk by the paintings. Through November 30 at 808 Projects, 808 Santa Fe Drive, 720-440-3099, Read the full review of Relay.

Relay: Paintings by Margaret Pettee Olsen





Art (Breaking Glass) Colorado Women in AbstractionCourtesy of the Center for Visual Art/MSUD Margaret Pettee Olsen,”Vortex.”

“Women artists, long victims of the grip of critical subjugation, are beginning to get their due, thanks in part to groundbreaking exhibitions like Gwen Chanzit’s Women of Abstract Expressionism at the Denver Art Museum. With a national show of that scope on the local lineup, Cecily Cullen of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Center for Visual Art decided to do something similar for Colorado’s healthy contingent of female abstractionists, and Westword critic Michael Paglia, a scholar of abstract art with a unique knowledge of who’s who in the state, was the clear choice to curate the CVA’s satellite exhibit. The result, Colorado Women in Abstraction, opens with a reception at 6 p.m. on July 15.”

Susan Froyd, Art critic, WestWord –A Village Voice magazine that covers the western United States

Gallery EOSS postcard cover_o

“Pettee Olsen is an accomplished painter whose brushwork offers much to contemplate and absorb. Her large canvases are blatantly abstract but so rich in color, texture and gesture that one finds traces of the figurative. Her mark-making evokes image-editing software with graphic overlays, howling blank space, and chaotic trails of paint that weave sometimes fluidly, sometimes jarringly, through one another…. Pettee Olsen layers paint until it achieves a kind of controlled chaos, eventually approximating the feeling of what she calls a “media-driven version of experience.”

… In this intriguing show, Kane and Pettee Olsen search for new forms to host the wild hordes of zeroes and ones we encounter in our daily lives.”

Alexander Castro-  Alexander Castro is a freelance journalist and arts writer living in Attleboro, Mass.


“Margaret seems to draw from art history itslef…from the caves of Lascaux to the canvases of Pollock.  You can also trace her roots as a one-time dancer and print maker (for the likes of Motherwell, De Kooning and Stella).  She builds intriguing surfaces by impregnating the work with metal pigment, creating pieces that are deep, light reactive, lush and rich, with a commanding scale and color range.”

Patrick J Hamilton, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W 18th Street, New York, New York


© Margaret Pettee Olsen