Corey Olsen is a recent graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, but his work has been gaining praise and notoriety for quite a while now, and the attention is certainly justifiable. The New England native is known for his playful, seemingly generic images, but something about Olsen’s work keeps the viewer engaged and coming back for more. As VICE so eloquently put it back in March, “Some of his portraits even look like the excessively bland pictures that might come in a store-bought picture frame.” And yet, we can’t get enough. Beyond this observation, there exists an obvious, self-referential sense of humor. Olsen is creating a body of work that seems to poke fun at photography—the good, the bad, and the hilariously cliché—and it’s clear that the embedded references to stock photography are anything but unintentional.
Exploring the apparent yet unsettling wholesomeness of the suburban Americana aesthetic, Olsen’s work feels a little bit like a contemporary William Eggleston. Utilizing perspective and color, the young artist photographs his subjects with the consistent flattening of space and a richness of hue reminiscent of the early color pioneers. Photographing everything from New England landscapes to portraits, still lifes, and commercial shots, Olsen, with his fresh, deeply saturated images is one to keep an eye on.
text by Maddie Maschger