About the Artist:
Marisa Olson is an artist from Defiance, Ohio. She started drawing at the age of two, and her grandmother taught her how to paint at the age of four. She is primarily a figurative painter, currently interested in themes of love, relationships, and the muse. Her post-graduate plans are to continue her studio practice and pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in the near future.
Aniket No. 1
linoleum print on paper, 2017, 9”x12½”
While I’m Far Away from You
acrylic, oil, wood, fabric, cardboard, lights on canvas, 2017, 36”x72”x2”
In the Land of My Dreams
acrylic and plastic star gems on wood panel, 2019, 24”x36”x2”
oil and latex on canvas, 2020, 30”x40”x2”
I began my current body of work when I went on the first date with my beloved in the fall of my nineteenth year. It coincidentally was the first semester of my undergraduate degree. I did not know at that time this person would consume my world and my work for the following three and a half years. My relationship with my beloved is the foundation of my undergraduate body of work. To date, this includes 61 pieces, though this number is consistently increasing. There has been an indescribable sense of vulnerability experienced through my work as I have investigated what it feels like to love another for the first time.
In the first year, I was fearful of the vulnerability required to create work about my relationship and to then share that work with peers and instructors. The first half of my body of work stemmed from such an innocent place. It came about in the form of small drawings or simple prints, one being the linocut, Aniket No. 1. This was the first work I ever made of my beloved. I was so overwhelmed with love for another, but I did not want to overwhelm him with the work I was really wanting to create. But as the love grew and the relationship evolved, I felt a desire to express more - and do it on a larger scale. I found my work to be the way to express thoughts and feelings I could not put into words, whether it was a feeling of overwhelming love, gratitude, anger, or sadness. The range of emotions I was exploring grew as I learned what it means to love and be loved.
In recent work, I have come to the realization that all this time I have been using my work as a way to keep my beloved close. This realization was the focus of my most recent series of paintings, which was created after spending four months abroad, away from my beloved. The recent painting, Sympathetic Listener, is included in this ongoing series.
There has been a drive to protect this obsession, to protect this person, to keep him as my own. I was doing this by using his likeness as a mouthpiece to express myself. I use his voice to speak my words. The adoration for my beloved is immense as we have grown as individuals and as a pair. I have merely scratched the surface on how incredibly complex love can be. These works of art are my love notes to the one I adore.
But what about you? Who is it that you love, and how do you show it?