The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tag: Olivia Knapp

First featured here, Seattle based artist Olivia Knapp creates cross-hatched pen and ink drawings influenced by old European woodblock engravings. Specifically, Knapp pulls her inspiration from 16th through 18th century blocks, which were in all genres including religion, art, history, science and medicine. She borrows ideas from medical illustrations for her current exhibit at Hellion Gallery in Portland, "Prehensility". The title refers to the quality of an appendage adapted for grasping, for example, as a monkey's tail has adapted to grasping to a branch. The show is an extension of Knapp's previous works in both style and theme, where she explores a relationship between psychology and biology in the context of one's environment.
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.

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