Solo art exhibition featuring Christopher Olszewski on display

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Solo art exhibition
Christopher Olszewski invited students to help paint this canvas during a recent visit to campus

The A.D. Gallery at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will present a solo exhibition of the work of artist Christopher Olszewski.

“Riding the Storm Out” will be on display through May 24.

It is free and open to the public. The A.D. Gallery is located in Locklear Hall.

The exhibition features a selection of recent paintings and large-scale installations from his ongoing automobile skins project. Olszewski is an active member of the Chippewa of Mnjikaning First Nation and developed his aesthetic from the creative visual language of the Northern Woodland people. 

His work is rooted in western painting traditions and the modernist/postmodernist philosophy of art, but focuses on his own cultural identity.

Olszewski states, “I also have a fascination with the ancient Native American world and how it interacts with current times. My goal is to develop the Native American image beyond the “Souvenir Shop” and to depict actual people struggling with the encroachment of the dominant contemporary culture.”

He views himself as “a completely assimilated Native American” and his paintings, automobile skins, photography, sculptures, videos, graffiti, interactive installations, performance art and drawings as a philosophical inquiry and contemplation of this existence.

His investigation of his cultural identity is based on superficial, mass mass-consumed imagery, and he draws connotations to of the disparate images of Native American stereotypes. Juxtaposing images of United States currency, automotive brands, and professional sports logos with images of Native Americans in ordinary settings develops a consciousness of a thriving culture beyond the caricature.

Olszewski’s paintings weave an intricate line between propaganda and advertising with an emphasis on the abuse of the words freedom, liberty, power and truth. In his work, he hope to convey a sense of Chippewa culture and history, Western education, mainstream American culture, delight and hardship, the light and the dark and, last but not least, harmony between the past and the present. 

Using the exaggerated expressiveness of cartooning and the stylistic rendering of graphic illustration, Olszewski’s creative process balances a zeitgeist of modern day anxiety with Native American ethos. 

The A.D Gallery’s new extended hours beginning May 7 will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for the duration of this exhibition. 

For further information on the gallery, the exhibition, or the artist, please contact A.D. Gallery Director, Joseph Begnaud, at 910.521.6405 or email joseph.begnaud@uncp.edu

Solo art exhibition