Mindy Solomon is pleased to present universal playground, the second solo exhibition of represented gallery artist Jeremy Olson. Presented in Olson’s meticulously articulated style, he continues to probe the notion of metaphor and the human experience.
“My most recent paintings explore the playground as both a literal and metaphorical space. They feature anthropomorphic creatures hanging out in constructed landscapes with mysterious structures. The artificial environments mimic the logic of actually existing playgrounds to a point, but veer into more abstract and illogical dimensions.
The source material was largely generated through experiments with new AI software. I asked the MidJourney chatbot to imagine playgrounds designed by various modernist artists and architects, trying out variations of image and text prompts in different generations of the software to create hundreds of unique images. Some of the images were quite beautiful immediately, though I found the “mistakes” more interesting than the “successes”. From this collection of images a handful were selected for further manipulation and compositing, before I finally started painting from them and populating them with characters.
I see some interesting parallels between this very new AI technology and the established practice of playground design. Both have potential to expand imagination and create new types of play and movement, both literal and conceptual. Both are also constrained by political economy and pre-existing expectations. The quality of a playground is affected not only by budget and the capabilities of landscape architects, but more critically by questions of who deserves leisure, how much, and to what end. In a different but relevant way, the liberatory potentials of AI are probably unrealizable under the logic of market capitalism. Like other new technologies, we may soon regret the changes it brings in ways we don’t yet imagine.
Nonetheless, I hope these paintings contain a shade of utopian longing while touching on themes I’ve been working with for some time; the tension between the lure of the unfamiliar and the alienation of sudden change, the formal and emotional potentials of architecture and design, and ultimately the universality of at least some degree of human experience, in spite of our many differences.”
With his signature elegant and preternatural imagery, Olson reminds us once again of what it means to be truly soulful.
About Jeremy Olson
Born in Ojai, CA; Jeremy Olson is a Brooklyn-based artist working primarily in painting, with excursions into sculpture and video. He has exhibited his work in New York, Miami, London, Hong Kong, Berlin, Baltimore, Antwerp, Melbourne, and Seoul. Jeremy received a 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Painting.
Jeremy has been an artist in residence at Praksis Oslo in Norway, Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Nebraska, Oxbow School of Art & Artists’ Residency in Michigan, and the SVA Summer Residency in New York. Jeremy received a BFA from the University of Arizona and an MFA from NYU Steinhardt. He is represented by Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami and Unit London in the UK.