John Olsen was born and raised in Cape May, New Jersey.  At the age of seven he completed an adult oil painting course at the Cape May County Vocational School.  He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in painting and drawing from The College of New Jersey, and then moved to NYC.  John now lives in Scotch Plains, NJ.

Artist’s Statement

My art begins with a profound interest in science. From quantum mechanics to astrophysics and molecular biology to genomics, I draw from an array of disciplines and focus on symmetries across the most current theories, with regards to both the complex mathematics involved and the corporeal, but often unseen, bodies being described. I find harmonies among the formulae and the connective threads spanning the interstitial spaces, and I aim to hypostatize these abstract catenations in my layered ordonnances. I extend this narrative out to include how these scientific espials and concinnities are affecting and even driving our modern technology, ethics, and culture by plaiting dynamic figurative elements into the motif.

My process often employs mixed media and juxtaposed artistic techniques to realize my envisaged stratification and interfusing of nature. Disjointed forms and components float, sometimes literally, over one another yet complect within coterminous space into a compositional whole. And my latest work incorporates tech hardware as both an aesthetic element and an allegorical counterpoint to the more organic forms.

Nature is incomprehensibly vast and its symmetries are beautiful; humankind’s capacity for understanding and describing it is also vast, and our trajectory towards discord or coherence is essential.

Selected Exhibitions

Petri dish, Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA

Drawing Connections, Siena Art Institute, Siena, Italy

Fresh Splinters – LIC Arts Open, Fine Art in Space, Long Island City, NY

Transitions, Milux, New York, NY (solo show)

Green Group, Fine Art in Space, Long Island City, NY

Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID Art Walk, Bar Reis, Brooklyn, NY

John Olsen Paintings, Ellis, Brooklyn, NY (solo show)

Small Works Invitational, Prince Street Gallery, New York, NY

Human Paintings, Fine Art in Space, Long Island City, NY (solo show)

Local Artists, Food for Thought, Brooklyn, NY

TCNJ Art Alumni Show, The College Gallery, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ

Paintings, Atlantic City Art Center at Garden Pier, Atlantic City, NJ (solo show)

RAINN Benefit, Philadelphia, PA

TCNJ Fine Art Graduate Exhibition, The College Gallery, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ


Making Funny, Under Minerva, Brooklyn, NY


Vanore, Jim, “Cape May County artist has New York showing”, Cape May County Herald, November 12, 2007

VanDusen, Bruce B., “Yesterday’s art majors strut their stuff”, TCNJ Magazine, Volume Nine, Number Two, Spring 2005, pages 37 – 39


brianjbarnhart.com – Brian Barnhart’s Web development and Art website.