This energetic mono-print is very typical of Olivia's artistic style. The image is created using a mono-chromatic colour palette, with the addition of a bold cadmium base colour and also the leaf colour in the foreground. Despite this painting's lack of spatial depth, Olivia hints at a location for the tree through clever use of layering colours. Judging by the railings around the tree and the stereotypical sandstone colours found in its streets, this could be in the heart of the city of Edinburgh. Olivia also uses her gestural brush strokes in the background to signify the hustle and bustle of city life, with the tree in the foreground being the one constant element of the scene.
Mainly an egg tempera and oil painter, Olivia uses sketchbooks, memory, points of reference and imagination, as well as the formal qualities of painting - especially colour - to inform and create her figurative compositions. As a painter, her interests lie in the direct manipulation of paint to create a dense mix of soft and hard surfaces, expressing a tension between control and disorder. She is interested in the way an image evolves from a combination of thoughts, ideas, memory, research, flights of fancy and the actual dynamics of the picture making process. Much of her imagery is figurative and depicts the seemingly ordinary everyday. She often includes personal objects, her family, her home, places she has visited and aspects of daily life to create 'awkward' yet 'poetic' scenes from her life with the aim of creating an image which goes beyond the ordinary, into the mysterious land of theatre.
Olivia Irvine was born in Scotland in 1960 and studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1981-1986 gaining a BA Honours degree in Drawing and Painting and a Diploma in Postgraduate Studies in Painting. She then went to Madrid on a scholarship. On her return, she rented a studio and carried on painting and had her first solo show. Her work became steadily more abstract. Olivia started teaching part-time in a gallery complex, sharing responsibility for developing the educational programme. In 1993 she was awarded an MA in European Fine Art which had involved studying in Barcelona. Later she started teaching part-time at Edinburgh College of Art and Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen. Today, she still combines part-time teaching with her own art practice.
With thanks to Axis for artist information
Art in Healthcare's blog entry about Olivia Irvine