Jeremy Olson
6 January - 13 February 2021
Unit London

the likes of others

Jeremy Olson

Jeremy Olson’s work delves into the darker aspects of the human condition, into the deafening loneliness of a hyper-connected world and the anxiety of a cancelled future.

Through a cleverly deployed cast of anthropomorphic characters, Olson captures what it feels like to be human in a digitised society. He grasps the asphyxiating uncertainty, the shackling vanity and vapid materialism and lays it out for the viewer to engage with in a moment of catharsis, a moment that turns a bleak subject matter into something lighter, more optimistic, even comforting.

'I think there’s a lot of playfulness in my work, even if the humor might be a bit dark.'
'I think there’s a lot of playfulness in my work, even if the humor might be a bit dark.'

'I think there’s a lot of playfulness in my work, even if the humor might be a bit dark.'

In the likes of others, Olson’s characters are compound beings comprised of two or more distinct ideas: a pipe and a woman, a face and a tree, a fox and a snake.

They come together in varying combinations and achieve differing degrees of familiarity. Their aim is to bridge what the artist perceives as an empathy deficit in contemporary society. Through being familiar but not personally recognisable these surreal, often rather grotesque creatures, allow the viewer to connect with the work in a more profound way - redolent of when we recognise relatable emotions in animals. The depersonalisation of these beings elicits a more personal response; the viewer can connect in the kind of emotive way that is commonly thought of as lacking in contemporary society.

Olson’s characters are liminal, existing on the boundary between one state of being or another.

Much like our own, their existence is a precarious, rootless one that plays out in sometimes daunting, always decaying surroundings. They often have a disarming aesthetic, rendered like a character from a children’s book or, more appropriately, a digital avatar. Olson is interested in whether this stylistic decision enhances the empathetic connection between viewer and subject, or whether it entrenches previously ascertained negative views.

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