"Great Lakes Bench" by sculptor Fritz Olsen is created of a single block of granite which explores a variety of textural surfaces. These include smoothly polished, softly honed and roughly hewn finishes. This sculpture invites the viewer to participate not only through its visual, tactile,and sensual aspects, but it also serves as a functional work of art in providing comfortable seating.
American artist Fritz Olsen, a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, is a nationally recognized sculptor who began his artistic journey on industrial Goose Island in 1985. It was here that he began creating original sculptures for both public and private installations. Over his nearly 30-year artistic practice resorts, hospitals, universities and courthouses across the country, have commissioned him for works of art. The demand for his work is due to his traditional practice of sculpting. Olsen works in the media of marble (his first love), onyx, granite, and cast bronze to create pieces that vary widely in scale. All of his work, however, is influenced by nature, particularly within the Midwest landscape. This link is derived from his childhood years spent growing up in Illinois and continues to this day.
Olsen says he is enchanted by organic shapes and expresses this interest within his work. Pulling forms from nature, such as flower petals, stems, and blossoms, he simplifies and replicates their physical attributes within stone to make beautifully flowing abstract creations. The curves presented in many of his sculptures seems to reference anatomy as well, matching the curves often seen in the female form, allowing his work to leak a seductive appeal.
Beyond his influences from nature and the Midwest landscape, Olsen is supported and motivated by his wife Martha Cares, an accomplished Broadway vocalist. She has collaborated with Olsen with his exhibitions along with running his gallery in Sawyer, Michigan. Currently Olsen lives with Martha in a restored 1930â€™s azalea nursery in Sawyer, Michigan. It is here that Olsen maintains his studio, sculpture gardens, and fine art gallery: Fritz Olsen Sculptures Fine Art Gallery with Martha as gallery director. The gallery features work from the collections of Fritz Olsen, himself, as well as prominent guest artists. His other work in Michigan, beyond commissions and in his galleries, are his entries at Art Prize, which included Infinity Ribbon, 2011 and Ring, 2012.
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