Olivia Stanton (b.1949) trained at Byam School of Art (now part of Central Saint Martins), London from 1973-77 under the tutelage of Wynn Jones and Bill Jacklin. Her work uses rich colour to fuse moments of bold geometry with hints of natural form, creating sophisticated and visually stunning paintings. The authority of the work transmits from an astonishingly matt paint surface, that exudes calmness and draws the viewer in to take a closer look.
Olivia’s work is strongly rooted in the history of British landscape painting. Influences include Ivon Hitchens, Paul Nash, R B Kitaj, Gillian Ayres and further back to Gaugin, all for their bold use of colour. She also cites the influence of Japanese wood blocks – ‘I like the way they organise black’. In France she lived near a route that took her up into the Pyrenees Mountains and now returned to the UK, there is a lane that leads her to the sea in West Sussex. She is in awe of nature, its wildness and wonders.
Conscious that she does not want to tell us what to see, she prefers to share what she sees and let the work speak for itself. It is perhaps not surprising then that the titles of her work may not relate directly to the piece itself, but an event happening at the time of its creation. ‘Passing Go’, for example, is a nod to the start of the Iraq war.
The space between shapes and the tilt of a line is the difference between a painting that is dynamic or passive. These intense paintings are packed with precision and decision, taking months to form. They are enticing labyrinths of colour and form that draw you in, they are a gratifying place to immerse and admire the brilliance of picture-making.
"Olivia Stanton studied painting in the early 1970s at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London and has exhibited regularly since then in Britain and France. Her work is landscape-based, but betrays a leaning towards abstraction which tightens the structure of her paintings substantially. This, coupled with a sophisticated understanding of colour used both descriptively and decoratively, accounts for the strength of her work. She draws with lyrical precision and has a real feeling for paint." Andrew Lambirth, The Spectator.
"Although her paintings are always based on particular places and views - here and there one can distinguish a row of trees, the curve of a road or fence, even a dustbin - they are essentially abstractions, and glimpses of recognisable features of the landscape are rare. These are skilfully controlled paintings. The colour is rubbed on and no brushstrokes are visible, but they are given a wild sense of movement through the abstract shapes themselves. With a particularly subtle deployment of colour, sometimes sombre, sometimes brilliant, the artist creates a variety of different moods." The Week