Art Imitates Life

San Antonio artist Tim Olson presents eclectic mixed-media works at d.m. allison.

By Megha Tejpal December 3, 2015

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"Study with Magnifying Glass"

While the chilly weather finally has us exploring the great indoors, museums and art galleries invite Houstonians to enjoy intriguing new exhibitions from talented local artists. This season, Upper Kirby’s d.m. allison art gallery is spotlighting the work of Tim Olson, a Texas transplant and accomplished artist whose most unusual pieces were inspired by his childhood growing up on a farm outside of Zumbrota, Minnesota.

Forming a deep curiosity for art for as long back as he can remember, Olson’s creativity piqued at a young age when he began to practice his craft seriously, studying it throughout high school and college. His natural inclination as a young boy was always to reanimate what was around him. From comic book scenes to Disney characters, he drew what he saw. The realization that there was a deeper meaning behind his lifelong hobby came during an art history class in college when he studied Dada.

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"Sheep Pull Toy"

Olson believes that the one thread his work is inspired by the most is language. Having spent time working with people with special needs, developmental disabilities and mental illness, he has witnessed difficulties people have in communicating. He considers art itself a language and is motivated by the connections between art and actual objects.

The exhibition at allison consists of 50 mixed-media pieces, including collage, assemblage, painting and illustration. While each piece is significant and unique in its own rite, one of the most notable works of the show is “Myra M Breed,” constructed from an old book cover. Olson explains that the piece was created from props originally used for a low–budget historical movie about Fort St. Louis his friend had asked him to participate in. In the scene, the props were used to show a small settlement after being ransacked and burned. After shooting was complete, Olson scavenged some of the props from the set of the movie, including this book cover. His distress over the idea that old books were torn apart and strewn across the set inspired “Myra M Breed.” Just as all of his work tends to, this piece of art captures a very real tone and is authentic to the core.

With no studio, Olson manages to produce work with supplies he keeps in a backpack and any table he finds convenient to use at the time. His freedom to create in such a way allows his work to evolve and change gradually over time, keeping it fresh and current. 

Dec 5–30. d.m. allison, 2709 Colquitt. 832-607-4378.

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