Olivia Longstaff’s new paintings in Tension are a snapshot of a young artist finding momentum, in a meaningful engagement with the stuff of paint, the tactile, sensuous matter-of-factness of it. She explores the way it moves, and the way its colour and character can dramatically transform with the simple manipulation of its physical characteristics.
The deep dense darks of impasted paint in mass-tone, give way to subtle, diaphanous veils of transparent colour when diluted with her flowing liquid turpentine technique. This dichotomy is playfully explored through the tension of deliberate, mechanical edges yielding to the eroding qualities of the vehicle as it moves the pigment according to its own momentum, to gravity, to time.
Clyfford Still said ‘The best works are often those with the fewest and simplest elements... until you look at them a little more, and things start to happen’. Olivia Longstaff’s paintings have the confidence to allow a little to say a lot.
Narbi Price, January 2019
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