The Drawers - Christopher Olson   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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For Font's Sake

Olson's witty repertoire acknowledges the feebler attempts to speak one's mind. With vestiges of cat hairs attached to the surfaces: his scribbling, cross-outs and erasures seem to affirm origins of insecurity taken from seamy perspectives. However, there is a hipper wit at work than just the meanderings of a disgruntled or misplaced person - it is the raw voice of the street savvy saint who lauds and applauds plebeian plight.

The cat hairs are stuck underneath the Letraset. Pressed onto the paper by lying the sheet of letters face down on the receptive surface and then rubbing the backside with a spoon, this method of lettering has become antiquated since the advent of the computer. The inept allusion is a set up. There is quite a lot of fuzz and hair stuck under the letters as if the cat has been encouraged to sit on the paper before Chris Olson begins to lay down his messages. There is too great an attention to detail to rule out intention.

These cheeky pieces have a rebellious nature. The German intrusion, art interception, a referential pseudo-intellectualism in the cracked and out-dated method is like a finger at the nose waving with defiance, jeering at our seriousness. “This took two minutes to do”, Olson states. The paper talks back to itself “I don't get it.” There is a vapid menace as if a crazy threat has slipped through the mail slot and fallen onto the living room floor. In one, there is a brutal situation being played out in street lingo from the wrong side of the tracks - “Fug dat I sez…”, the thick goon talk of a bully, a prelude to violence.

The references are oblique enough to cause pause and question the necessity of the words existing. The reason that all of this should fall under the denomination of art is also considered. As the depravity of message and means is placed on a pristine page, then set up as 'art' and made precious by intent it works, on many levels. Visually, Chris Olson's work is interesting to look at, abundant in fine details, well laid out, formal, elegant and even gestural. The statements are relevant with a spooky prescience as if Olson is in on a knowledge that we are moving towards at a much slower pace.

Copyright © 2007,  Julie Oakes