The Montgomery Museum of Arts and History, 300 Pepper St. in Christiansburg, will present “Beach Reviews,” an exhibit featuring Blacksburg resident Martha Olson, from Sept. 2 through October 29.
The museum will host a reception on Sept. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. to give the public the chance to meet Olson in person.
Olson described herself as a “paper person,” a term she uses to describe her work, for which the medium is recycled, repurposed magazines. She employs acrylic paints and washes and implements to create her free-flowing style by drawing, cutting, and tearing.
Olson’s biography says she has been involved with art in some form all her life. Her first memory goes back to a third-grade experience with Mrs. Kemper, who instilled in her the love of art. She said, “As a child I was always doing something.” Though receiving no formal training, this early experience led her to spend time exploring and testing materials, attending workshops, and evoking every educational experience possible.
”I have become braver with materials, working larger and using disruption to learn,” Olson said.
She receives inspiration from taking nature walks, cruising magazines, reading, and scouting the Internet. Her motivation is “everything everywhere.”
She describes herself as an observer of all that surrounds her, and thus the title of the show, “Bench Views.” She expresses pride that her work is all original and most unusual, feeling that art should be accessible to all and abstract interpretation should be left to the viewer.
Among many honors and awards, Olson has received the 2021 “Best in Show” at the Perspectives Gallery in Blacksburg. Her work can be found across the United States and in Europe. Currently, her work can be seen at the Moss Art Center, Miller off Main, and Earth, Fire and Spirit in Lexington, Va.
After a year of searching for a direct focus, Olson is taking time to examine her artistic direction, determine the kind of artist she wants to develop into, and how to enhance that journey.
Olson said she believes in the importance of supporting the arts “in any way possible: by journeying, becoming involved, participating, volunteering, just showing up.” When she is not in her studio, she can be found gardening, hiking, biking, and enjoying the great outdoors with its changing seasons.