Kelly Olshan is a NYC-based artist and arts manager whose sculptural paintings invite the viewer to navigate towards an unattainable place. She graduated Valedictorian from UNC Asheville with a BFA in painting, and went on to receive her master’s in Arts Administration from Columbia University.
Olshan’s work creates an imagined architectural landscape. Abstracted, incongruous staircases orient and disorient the 2D and 3D planes, defying the possibilities of a physical climb. Presenting a series of interconnected spaces to navigate, the artist designs an otherworldly spatial logic in which one can “enter” through one composition and “exit” its counterpart.
In architecture, stairs and windows represent a link – both real and imagined – between where we are and where we want to go. When they’re functional, they’re inspiring: a means of physical and symbolic elevation and relocation. When they’re broken, they’re tantalizing: false pathways to an inaccessible ambition.
To create interrelated spaces, the artist re-conceptualizes elements of her own work, reconstructing and re-envisioning the source material. The resulting works are linked, but irrational: a section of one painting reappears, altered; a large-scale work morphs into a small, distressed environment. Together, these linked objects create an interconnected, self-reflexive world.Just as the work recycles imagery, so it recycles material: leftovers generated during the painting process, or “artistic waste,” is repurposed to create new work. A byproduct of painting, artistic waste provides a self-referential portal into the creative process. Her work has been exhibited nationally, most recently in solo exhibitions entitled Portals at Ground Floor Contemporary in Birmingham, Alabama and Reimagined Landscapes at Sean Christopher Gallery in Columbus, Ohio .