Father-daughter duo Pamela Olin, 65, and Richard Olin, 89, use different media, but both love to tinker, and their new art exhibition at Plymouth Harbor showcases their hands-on talents with a collection of three-dimensional works.
"Expressions of Experience: Two Generations" is open daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Feb. 29 and brings together the worlds of father and daughter.
Pamela and Richard worked on this collection independently. But both of them focused on themes of movement and interaction for the viewer.
Pamela focuses on light and shadow to encourage interaction with the art. Richard incorporates electronics to engage the viewer with his experiences of aging and technology
“It's very special to share this with my dad,” said Pamela. “It's a dream come true. Dad’s only showed his work twice. He never pursued art as a career because when it was time for him to make those choices, it wasn't really an option.
Although art often took a secondary role in his life, that did not stop Richard from exploring different media.
“I've always been a maker,” said Richard. “When I was a little kid, I was always fabricating things. As I got older, I drifted more into artistic things. By the time I was a teenager, I was building mobiles because I love things that move.”
Richard majored in art at Northwestern University but ended up taking over the family businesses, a pharmaceuticals company and an ice cream business. In his spare time, he was always creating. Richard has experimented with welding, sculpting and painting.
Richard's latest art fascination revolves around two-part epoxy clay, which Pamela introduced him to. His pieces included in the show are made out of this material. Some pieces include motion-sensors or sound.
“It's so much fun for me to see my work with enough space around it,” said Richard. “Otherwise, it is usually jammed into my own space. I love interacting with people browsing my art. I love to watch people's reactions, usually positive or thoughtful.”
Similar to her father, Pamela has been creating from a young age, curious about how things work. Richard said she has been taking objects in their home apart, such as the oven, and putting them back together since she was 3 years old.
Inspired by her curiosity and her open-minded parents, she grew up experimenting with different art forms in her dad’s studio.
Pamela went to the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Wisconsin in Madison, Rhode Island School of Design and Columbia College in Missouri. Welding is her medium of choice, with 30 years under her belt. She is a nationally recognized sculptor who has shown her art all over the country.
In this collection, she focuses on family ties and the idea of how important tight-knit communities are. Pamela said it's important that each of her pieces are touchable to make it a thought-provoking and interactive experience.
“The beauty of showing in Sarasota is that I live my daily life here,” said Pamela. “They are my community. I know my audience and they are able to know me. I'm approachable and I encourage that kind of interaction, so I love the direct feedback of a great audience.”
Pamela said that inspiration from her tight-knit family is a theme of the show. Both her and her father showcase the impact her late mother had on them.
Pamela said her mother maintained an open environment for each of her family members to grow into whom they wanted to be. This created a loving and supportive dynamic through difficult times in Pamela’s life.
“My dad and I make art for ourselves, as opposed to making for a market, which is a luxury as an artist,” said Pamela. “We really put ourselves into everything we do through our latest art fascination or existential thought. We both love automation and technology and things that make noise. So it's the most special thing to be able to share our perspectives together at such a great place. I feel like life is coming full circle.”
Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.