Celebrating Black Artists: Olivia Guterson

Olivia Gunterson
Image courtesy of Olivia Gunterson.

Olivia Guterson is a local artist whose work has made our community more complex and beautiful. If you haven’t yet, you definitely should check out her work!

Washtenaw County is full of amazing art, including wonderful art by different Black artists. In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to shine a spotlight on local Black artists that have made a difference in our community with their work. Today, we wanted to share the work of Olivia Guterson.

Olivia Guterson is a Detroit artist who explores her work through black ink. Her works are layers of ink as a way of mapping the present conditions and environment through the lens of her lived experiences. Her work is both healing and truth-seeking investigation. The patterns she lays are mesmerizing, forcing the viewer to take a deeper look at her detail and how the lines weave together to create a story. 

She has an invested interest in pattern as language, which stems from her multiracial heritage. This inspired how her patterns relate to one another and yet can stand alone. Just as important as her linework, the negative, empty space also creates a statement. This balance between black and white, busy and still, negative and positive, and the valid in-betweens, give her linework an embedded meticulousness and instinctive wisdom.

Guterson’s work is on display in downtown Ann Arbor. As part of the Ann Arbor Art Center’s initiative to design and infuse art into our community, Guterson was invited to create a piece along 111 N. Ashley St. Her piece, Midnight Olive, can be seen along Ashley Terrace.

For more information on Olivia Guterson’s work, check out her website.