American, b. 1946
My Nose, Lips and Finger Tips are Pressed Against the Picture Plane, 1980
graphite, coloured pencil, ink, gouache, acrylic on paper
76.2 x 101.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery
During his graduate studies in the early 1970s, Gary Olson became interested in his own self-portrait as a vehicle to critique the state of contemporary art. More precisely, he used his own image to create a satirical comment on the contemporaneous artistic concerns of the concept of the picture plane. In order to establish and define the plane in this piece, Olson presses, pushes, or squeezes various parts of his face against the imaginary plane of reference. In addition, this larger-than-life drawing uses a variety of media to enhance the sense of illusion, texture, and depth. The facial hair and deep wrinkles appear like ridges and reliefs going deep into, or popping out from, the surface of the drawing itself.