Thu 7 Sep 2023 to Sat 30 Sep 2023
Tue-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm
Artist: Olivia Valentine
GJG presents Olivia Valentine’s solo show ‘The Pink Cloud’: through a series of intimate portraits of her support network, Valentine explores the joy of recovery, capturing her sitters’ individual narratives in the belief that connection is the most powerful quality for overcoming adversity.
About the Exhibition
The term ‘Pink Cloud’ refers to a stage of early recovery from addiction that involves feelings of euphoria. Throughout her personal journey, Valentine came to understand that, for her, the remedy for addiction is ‘connection.’ Through this series of portraits, Valentine shares with the viewer her support network, exploring different ways of expressing emotional intimacy through her subjects. Grateful for all the interpersonal relationships she has had in her life, Valentine carefully constructs every painting to tell a story about the sitter.
“All these characters I’ve depicted in my paintings have had an important role in my life, whether that was a fleeting friend, a best friend or an ex lover. They all play a significant part in my life and have helped shape the very fabric of my being, coming and going at exactly the right time.” (Olivia Valentine)
Fascinated by the way in which we relate to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us, Valentine investigates the dynamic between the past and the present and people’s individual stories and narratives, in the firm belief that connection and resilience are the most powerful qualities for overcoming adversity.
“All the world is a stage” says Valentine while breaking down her visual exploration of these individual characters she has interacted with at some point in her life; “these interactions are worth immortalising, life’s too short to hold back from connecting with people and talking to them about your passions and purpose or even something insignificant and mundane.”
The undertone of Valentine’s work is a very serious one, for she wishes to raise awareness on the importance of mental health, removing the stigma behind it, particularly in relation to the disease of addiction. Yet, such an exploration is imbued with cheerful nuances: the artist focuses on the joys of recovery, and the new ways of living that it has gifted her and many others, investigating and capturing the feelings of hope, serenity and elation of her sitters.
About Olivia Valentine
UK based, figurative artist Olivia Valentine studied traditional portraiture in Florence for four years at Charles Cecil Studios. There, she learnt the old masters’ technique called the ‘sight-size’, method rooted in the practice of Van Dyke, Velasquez and Titian, based upon observing the model from a distance and to the scale of life whilst painting under natural light.
Since leaving Florence, Olivia has embarked on her own creative journey of self-expression drawing inspiration from different styles. Valentine makes use of flattened perspectives and undulating planes to create an altered perception of depth. Paired with the vivid chromatic palette of her backgrounds, this method leads to a unique juxtaposition that confers a playful aesthetic to the figures traditionally portrayed in the original masters’ technique.
The artist paints her sitters from life, focusing on capturing the fluidity and character of her subjects, with all of whom Valentine has a personal relationship. Exploring the value of friendship, through her canvases Valentine narrates a story of support, encouragement and comfort.