Harold Olejarz began his career as a sculptor. He worked in wood, creating sculptures ranging from abstract waves to figural sculptures inspired by Greek sculpture. He was active in the Soho cooperative gallery movement and exhibited at 14 Sculptors’ Gallery in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. At the same time, he also reviewed Soho art gallery exhibitions for Arts Magazine.
In the late 1980’s and 1990’s Olejarz created wearable sculptures and began an active career as a Performance Artist. He installed himself, as a work of art, on the streets, in museums and public spaces across the country. Olejarz performed and exhibited in numerous festivals, galleries, and museums, including: the New Museum, The Newark Museum, The Morris Museum, and The Jersey City Museum.
Digital imaging has fascinated Olejarz since 1990 when he first explored image manipulation with early digital tools like ColorIt! and early versions of Photoshop. Olejarz’s early digital images included a series of scanned images in which he used his hands and objects as “performers” on a flatbed scanner. These images created a bridge from Olejarz’s performance work to his digital imagery. Olejarz was awarded a public art commission by NJ Transit. For this commission he created two etched glass block windscreens, that are installed at the Pavonia/Newport Light Rail Station in Jersey City.
Recently, Olejarz has been exploring digital image making outside of the rectangular frame. He uses his photographs as source material for creating circular, collaged images that repeat and rotate slices of photographs. The images suggest mandalas and kaleidoscopes. Bikes, CAR$, Flora, Fauna, Masks, Minerals and Places are the themes he is presently working on.
“There is a kaleidoscopic, puzzle-like aspect to my images that make them engaging and fun to look at. My images do not present the rectangular image one expects from a traditional photograph; they are circular. The images are composed of slices of photographs that are repeated and rotated. Repetition of colors and forms encourages viewers to focus on the relationships of the objects to itself and the other objects in the image. Rather than experience a field of vision, viewers are brought into a vortex of shapes, colors, objects, flora, and fauna. The images evoke pinwheels, kaleidoscopes, mandalas, and ammonites. They encourage the viewer to delight in the repetition and patterns revealed in the constructed image.”