Helgi Maret Olvet
Helgi Maret Olvet (1930-2020) studied at the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR (Estonian abbreviation ERKI). She received her degree in graphic art with a book designer’s diploma in 1955.
Maret Olvet worked as a senior lecturer at ERKI’s drawing department, as the head artist at Estonian National Television and as the head of advertising at Kaubanduspalat (Chamber of Commerce). She found her calling as a freelance graphic artist, but had also illustrated and designed various books, record labels, stamps, and badges. Her greatest successes in book design came in the 1970s; during the years 1974–77 she also won numerous awards for her poster designs.
She was also well-known for her miniprints and ex-librises producing around 300 ex-libris throughout her career.
While her earliest graphic works make use of lithography, the second half of the 1970s saw her move to intaglio printing and trying her hand at various other techniques (photo relief, linocut, screen printing, etc.).
The artist adopted an abstract style in the 1990s as the spirit of liberation grasped Estonia – in her works Shoots, she reaches towards freedom, light, clarity, and a better tomorrow. The completely abstract exhibit and art series Dal Segno (Italian for “from the sign”) of geometric abstract works made using the silkscreen method followed in 1997. With her first abstract works, Maret Olvet strove to cleanse herself of the bleak, grey artistic norms and move toward delicate minimalism.
Maret Olvet’s lengthy career is characterized by constant change, exploration, and experimentation. Her oeuvre is saturated with symbolism, which adds an independent layer of meaning to both her works and their titles. The artist’s persevering creative spirit was sensitive, contemplative, and thorough, and spilled into every aspect of her work through a language of signs.
She became a member of the Estonian Artists’ Association in 1959, a member of the Association of Estonian Printmakers in 1991 (honorary member since 2011), and an honorary member of Exlibris Åboensis in 1993. She was also awarded with the title of Printmaker of the Year in 2015. Her works appear in the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia and the Tartu Art Museum, the National Library of Estonia, Pärnu Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Ateneum Museum in Helsinki, Gothenburg Museum of Art in Sweden, and also in Japan, Brussels, Vilnius and Spain.
Partly from the "Forest Myth and Mythical Circle" exhibition texts, 2020.