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“The Search for Images” Exhibit by Chuck Olson

October 30th – November 20th, 2021

Fridays & Saturdays from 4pm – 8pm

M.I.B. Gallery
48 E. Main Street
Buckhannon, WV 26201

ART26201 will present THE SEARCH FOR IMAGES, a solo exhibition by abstract expressionist painter Chuck Olson, Saturday, October 30, 2021, at the M.I.B. GALLERY in the Colonial Arts Center. There will be a special opening artist’s reception from 4 to 8 p.m., and Olson will give a special introduction at 5 p.m. Reservations are recommended for Olson’s introduction, and they can be emailed to

In addition to the opening event on October 30, the M.I.B. GALLERY will be open from 4-8 p.m. on November 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20.

All events at the M.I.B. GALLERY are free and open to the public. Significant financial assistance for the Colonial Arts Center Rehabilitation project has been provided by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History; ART26201; and Buckhannon Community Theatre.

“Rudder” by Chuck Olson


Chuck Olson built his painting career while leading the Department of Fine Arts at Saint Francis University from 1976-2019. Known to be one of the best abstract painters in the Pittsburgh Region, Olson has exhibited his paintings in dozens of American and international venues, and many are included in corporate, museum, and university fine art collections. Olson was awarded the status of Master Visual Artist for the City of Pittsburgh in 2013, which coincided with a solo exhibition of his paintings at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and an archive of his work established at the Heinz Regional History Museum.


This exhibition is a grouping of selected paintings, prints, and collages that represents three different thematic approaches to my own image making. Here are three visual themes based on monuments, columns & paragraphs, and kites. They represent, respectively, my fascination with history, the patterns relevant in narratives, and simple whimsy.

The idea of monuments, as seen in the images “Power/Desire,” “The Meeting Place,” and “Rudder,” is a reflection on event and preserving memory. “Laureate” and “Cathedral,” as well as the accompanying “Paragraph” images, represent the influence of the printed word where vertical columns and horizontal paragraphs have been the design of our narratives for centuries. The “Kite Series” of small collage/watercolors was recently painted while on an extended stay in New Mexico. I have always perceived the kite as a fantastic symbol of hope and promise since I first tried to set one aloft. Kites bring to mind color, pattern, and design with an innocent purpose from which those elements were resonating within the visual culture of New Mexico.

These paintings follow familiar paths of creating hybrids of form gleaned from the object, history, and the landscape, then placed as a sculptor might so do in giving one’s creations context. In each, the sculptural center of interest is apparent and direct. Collage is initially employed in a most random fashion as a method of creating form- a form of drawing with torn paper and glue. There are contrasts in color, form, light & dark, collage & the hand made, and thick & thin. All of this contributes to dialogue- agreement and argument between the forces within each painting.

In creating and viewing these paintings, one faces something new. They are both familiar and unexpected with the goal of evoking childlike wonder and an adult’s intellectual curiosity.

The city of Buckhannon, West Virginia, is indeed fortunate in having a dynamic group of citizens who realize the power of the arts in transforming communities and enhancing well-being. The MIB GALLERY and the Colonial Arts Center as well as other venues in Buckhannon provide critical arenas in order to attract artistic expression and encourage generations to engage in all of the fine arts.