O n  B i g  D r a w i n g s

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  Olivia Petrides

installation of 'Polar Nights' in progress, 'OnBigDrawings', A+D Gallery, Chicago, 2014

Concepts and Key Themes

++++Immersive, large scale drawings inspired by natural forces

Industry: Olivia Petrides

人心齐,泰山移 rén xīn qí, tài shān yí -

When people work with one mind, they can even remove Mount Taishan

Chinese Proverb

Through the accumulated bundling of lines and cross-hatching Petrides takes the possibility of an epic lyrical drawing to phenomenal proportions. We have seen how the persistence of the artist can transform a blackboard into a lesson in linearity and how drawing with an expansive energy can generate immense gestural marks. 

Here it is a demonstration of how techniques traditionally used on a small scale can be applied, through industry and dexterity, to make something at once minute in perfection and monumental in impact. (Jennifer Shaw)

“I am an abstract painter who draws inspiration from natural phenomena – caves, volcanoes, lava flows, icebergs, glaciers, and, most recently, the aurora borealis. Physically and metaphorically powerful, these phenomena convey the staggering beauty and terror that nature has inspired in us from the beginning. When I travel, I always begin by painting realistic watercolor studies in sketchbooks. Back in my Chicago studio, I unfurl rolls of watercolor paper on the floor, flood the paper with water and fling black ink onto it. The resulting explosive, organic shapes determine the composition of the work to follow and are a counterweight to the precision of the on-site watercolor studies. I then create surging movements of black and white marks and fluid gestures in response to the base layer of shapes. The result is a fissured, restless landscape in which there is no fixed viewpoint and no steadying horizon line.”

Artist's Bio


Olivia Petrides in her Chicago studio

Petrides’ work was shown most recently at Indiana University Northwest, Gary, IN (2018); Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago (2017); Elmhurst (IL) College (2016); and Bridgeport Art Center, Chicago (2016). Her travels have been sponsored by awards from a range of organizations, and her art is included in many public collections, including Smithsonian Institution, United States Park Service, Chicago Field Museum, Carnegie Mellon University, Purdue University, and Iceland’s Hafnarborg Institute of Art. Art collection of the Illinois State Museum