Olivia Knapp’s Pen-and-Ink Drawings of Bizarre Still Lifes

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

 

Seattle-based artist Olivia Knapp conjures ornate arrangements of commonplace objects and anatomical parts in strange still lives that evoke the Baroque period. Though she received her eduction in fashion design from Parsons and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Knapp focuses her energy on the technical mastery of drawing with pen and ink. Inspired by centuries-old illustrations in scientific texts, she carefully studies the techniques of 16th-century master engravers, boiling her cross-hatching techniques down to a science to achieve a rich range of values and convincing depth.

Though her techniques are traditional, Knapp’s compositions are decidedly unorthodox. She invites viewers to imagine, for examine, the similarities between a crown of broccoli and the human brain. Eyeballs blossom from flowers. She adds elements of contemporary culture to these otherwise classical images: headphones, a conical “Happy Birthday” hat, even a portable cup of Froot Loops like the ones served in school cafeterias. With these references to today’s mass-produced wares, she attaches her works to our current time period. One can imagine viewers centuries from now looking at these drawings and seeing them as distinctly 21st century, just as we quickly pick up on the anachronisms of the 16th-century engravings she references.


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  1. Pingback: Dear Diary: Olivia Knapp | Art Nerd Seattle