Kite Flying
By Olivia Irvine

Subject Matter
Reg. Number
41 x 46 cm

Thank you Florence Knox for adopting this artwork.

This monoprint shows a girl in a print dress flying a blue kite while a boy sits nearby. The girl is leaning back with her arm raised high, suggesting the tautness of the line as the kite pulls away. The line itself is not shown, but rather suggested by five yellow ribbons. The boy, the girl and the kite form a near-equilateral triangle against the dramatically tilted horizon.
Bright highlights on the shoulders and upper back of the seated boy are juxtaposed with deep shadow on his face. This high contrast and the 'bleached' yellow grass and almost white sky have something of the evocative quality of faded colour photographs. A monoprint is a 'single impression of an image made from a re-printable block' such as a metal or glass plate. Where the plate is 'featureless', i.e. its surface has not been altered, for example by etching, and the process involves 'one unique inking, unique print' (as is the case with 'Kite Flying'), the term 'monotype' is used.

Olivia has said that much of her imagery depicts "seemingly ordinary yet surprising aspects of my everyday life", and her work involves taking these "awkward and poetic moments of life[...] beyond the ordinary and into something more theatrical or filmic".

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

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