The region of Western Pennsylvania has literally formed the background of my development- my birth, my upbringing, my education and my work. As an American painter educated within the last quarter of the 20th century, the powerful example of Abstract Expressionism, which marked the self defining American break with European modernism, pulled me into its energy and provided me with a way of seeing with which to respond to my experience. Part of that experience was also taken intellectually with the importance of history and its accompanying conscience which allowed for the development of imagery based on a hybrid of gestural abstraction and representation of forms gleaned from the past.
Perhaps my earlier declaration as an “American painter” should contain an asterisk as I have a French wife and a Franco-American life that wonders about where it belongs. This restlessness, caused by cultural collision, allows me the potential , I believe, to constantly reflect on how one sees, constructs life, and then proceeds to take it all in. It is in spending time in France that affords me an opportunity to understand the “American” and the “French” is examined within the context of time spent in Western Pennsylvania. There is something of American energy and French mystery that drives me. This Franco American duality is also there in my definition as artist and professor. Some think that it shows and perhaps it shows best within my work.
1981 The Tyler School of Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
1976 M.A. in Painting, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA.
1974 B.S. in Art Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA.
1976 to 2018
Professor of Art; Professor in the Fine Arts Department,
Saint Francis University Loretto, PA.
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Chuck Olson has had his paintings featured in over 300 solo, group, and juried exhibitions throughout the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Bermuda, Scotland, and Japan.
His work has been included in the following selected museum and corporate collections: Carnegie Museum of Art, Osaka Museum of Modern Art Contemporary Art Center, Charleston Museum of Art, Amarillo Museum of Art, Galerie Lillebonne, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Duquesne University, Marietta College, University of Scranton, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University, Saint Francis University, UPMC Corporation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Corporation, Double Tress Hotel Corporation, Westinghouse Corporation, ALCOA, Oxford Development, PPG Industries, PNC Corporation, National Bank of the Commonwealth, McDonald’s Corporation, Price Waterhouse, Coopers and Lybrand, Hilton Hotel Corporation, Tokyo Marine, Gulf Oil Corporation, USX Corporation, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pine Richland School District, Hewlett Packard, Cassa di Risparmio di Reggio Emilia, and many private collections in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, and Europe.
Legacy Master Visual Artist for the city of Pittsburgh with images stored in the archives of the Heinz Regional History Museum; listed several times in Who’s Who in American Art; Award of Excellence in Visual Arts Pittsburgh Magazine and WQED-TV; Distinguished Alumni Award Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Distinguished Alumni Award Saint Francis University; The Swatsworth Faculty Award Saint Francis University; The National Honor Society Distinguished Faculty Award; and various prizes awarded in exhibition.
Chuck Olson has been invited as guest speaker to Harvard Yale Princeton (HYP) Club, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Print Group, WQED, WJAC, WTAJ, as well as all regional universities and numerous universities and high schools throughout the United States in association with personal exhibitions.