"Blown," a piece of by Lowell artist Linnea Olson, on view in "Found" at NECCO.
"Blown," a piece of by Lowell artist Linnea Olson, on view in "Found" at NECCO.

Bottle caps, rocks, bones, fossils, shells and glass are just junk to you and me. But to Lowell artist Linnea Olson, the discarded bits and pieces she finds on the beach or at a dump, flea market or thrift shop are intriguing elements ready for her to turn into art.

Her artwork is showcased in "Found," a solo exhibit at Northern Essex Community College's Linda Hummel-Shea ArtSpace on the Haverhill campus, Jan. 22-Feb. 22.

An opening reception and talk will be held Thursday, Jan. 25, 3:30-5:30 p.m., in the ArtSpace, located in the Harold Bentley Library, 100 Elliott St., Haverhill.

An artist since childhood, her chosen medium was painting until the day she started looking at everything she found as potential art.

"Plaything" by Dian Hosmer on view in "Naked" at the ALL Gallery in Lowell.
"Plaything" by Dian Hosmer on view in "Naked" at the ALL Gallery in Lowell.

"I have spent an inordinate amount of my life looking for things," says Olson. "Not things that are lost or misplaced, but rather things waiting to be found by me, of course. I have found, claimed, pocketed, carted home and arranged these objects with a passion that has bordered on obsession."

When she discovered the connection between her obsession and her art, she suddenly understood not only what she wanted to say but how to say it.


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"Gone were the days of medium specificity, as I suddenly looked at everything as material. And I began assembling and gluing with a passion I'd not felt since, well, perhaps, ever. I had found my language."

Through the years, her work as been exhibited in group shows in Colorado, California and Massachusetts. This is her first solo show.

For info on the show, email pkidney@necc.mass.edu or mmannheimer@necc.mass.edu.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.

Art picks

BARELY THERE: The Arts League of Lowell greets the winter art season with "Naked," a new exhibition that explores the nude human form in a variety of two- and three-dimensional mediums that offers a new take on a classical art genre. On view in the ALL Arts Gallery, 307 Market St., Lowell, it opened last weekend runs through Sunday, Feb. 11. A reception with the artists is planned for Saturday, Jan. 20, 4-6 p.m. The regular gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Visit www.artsleagueoflowell.org.

WINTER ESCAPE: "Flora in Winter," a beloved tradition at the Worcester Art Museum, is an affordable escape from the cold -- and you don't have to get on a plane to enjoy it. It takes place Jan. 25-28 -- four days featuring imaginative floral displays that transform the museum into a wonderland awash in color, light and delicate scents that offer the perfect antidote to winter's icy grip. It kicks off Thursday, Jan. 25, with an opening-night reception from 5:30-8 p.m., including light refreshments, music and cash bar. Reception tickets $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers, $15 for students, and $6 for children. "Flora in Winter" is also open Friday, Jan. 26, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 27-28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free to museum members; $22 for nonmember adults and $6 for children. Visit www.worcesterart.org/flora for info and tickets.

MEET THE ARTISTS: A reception for "Follow the River," paintings by Debra Bretton Robinson, takes place Sunday, Jan. 21, 4-6 p.m., at Mandarin Asian Bistro, 24 Market St., Lowell. The exhibit is up until Feb. 28 and features Robinson's various interpretations of rivers both near and far. ... "Looking Backward from an Imaginary Future," featuring the work of Ron Gwiazda and Jane E. Simpson, opens Friday and runs through March 2 at the Conant Gallery on the campus of Lawrence Academy, Route 40, Groton. Music and refreshments at the opening reception this Friday, Jan. 19, 6-7:30 p.m. The public is invited.