Justin Olerud

Without a Spark

December 5 - December 13, 2020

Without a Spark is Justin Olerud’s third project with Visitor Welcome Center, this time hosted at iris’s backyard! In April, we transformed the former gallery space into a triad of artist studios, with Olerud occupying one of them. The selected works on view mark and reflect the time accumulated between the first state-wide lockdown until the recent fire at the building.

Since March, Olerud has been nurturing an intimacy with the natural world through gardening and surfing. For Olerud, gardening, surfing, and art making inspire one another, as each process depends on growth and vulnerability, and being attuned to one’s surroundings. He documents his encounters with stingray and starfish, collaged upon images of herbs and flowers from his garden, and integrates iconic Los Angeles landmarks from his drives between his home and the ocean. Together, the drawings become “visual gardens” akin to sprawling maps of earthlings and moments of surprise, evocative of the elements and of his journeys into the abundant worlds embraced by the California sun.

Justin Dale Olerud (b. 1986) grew up on a farm in Bricelyn, Minnesota. He invokes vanitas painting traditions to explore and memorialize queer subjectivity. He received his BFA from California College of the Arts and Crafts in 2008, and his MFA from Columbia University in 2016.

Night Garden No.1, 2020. Mixed media on watercolor. 63 x 46 inches. Installation view.

Justin Olerud, Wilderness (Diana), 2020. Mixed media on watercolor. 35 x 32 inches. Installation view.

Bobcat Kiss, 2020. Mixed media on watercolor. 42 x 42 inches. Installation view.

Time, 2020. Mixed media on watercolor. Approx 40 x 40 inches. Installation view.