PAUL OLSON (Ngāti Kurī, Ngāti Hine,Te Aupōuri) has a presence that is at once global and other worldly. Descended from the far north of Aotearoa New Zealand, and also a Thirkettle, through his mother, (Norwegian, Scottish, Irish) he weaves his ancestral roots together in his art. His whakapapa is both global and local and he brings this to his work. It’s timeless and deep, rich with story and meaning.
Often, Paul will draw from lessons learned when he was a teenager learning in Ralph Hotere’s studio: “It was always obvious when he was going to begin work. Something in the air would change.”
From Warwick Brown, MNZM extract. please contact us for the full review.
"At first glance, it could be misinterpreted as contemporary Māori wood carving. With Māori ancestry, Olson’s work certainly references elements of the traditional Māori art forms; however, the works in this show etch together inspirations from his ancestry in its entirety - another reference to the underlying messages pertaining to family and connection. Whilst many young artists might seek to reshape iconic forms of the past, there is a beauty in acknowledging the rawness of traditional forms, and honouring what is strikingly original, whilst further studying it’s potential for growth and reinterpretation. Indeed, the most famous carvers were those who broke away from ‘customary’ ideas; yet in the contemporary Māori art world, understanding that customary forms were always being innovative, is how the most successful carvers revitalising and revisiting traditions using innovative tools and materials. Olson’s ability to harmoniously blend traditional concepts of many roots in a seamlessly modern styling will be sure to see him go far."