Workplace (Margaret St) – Olivia Jia: Ex Libris

Olivia Jia, Untitled (Audubon owls, a walk at midnight), 2022. Oil on panel, 40.5 x 50.6 cm, © The Artist, Image Courtesy of Workplace London

(12 May – 17 June, 2022)

Workplace is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Philadelphia based artist Olivia Jia at its 40 Margaret Street space. The exhibition will include a series of new small-scale paintings in which the artist brings together an array of images and objects sourced from her own archive onto the pages of fictional manuscripts, creating personal and poetic narratives.

Inspired in part by 19th century American still-life and trompe l’oeil painting, early and pre-Renaissance European paintings of books, and Surrealism; Jia’s meticulously painted, unconventional still-lifes depict manuscripts and archival spaces as containers of personal narratives and history. The images presented on these pages stem from the artist’s extensive and ongoing personal archive of photographs, ephemera, and objects. A photograph of Jia’s great-uncle’s star-spangled tunic is placed next to a clay pot from an internet search, found while pining for a lost heirloom; a bunch of flower market lilies is painted while thinking of 19th century botanical illustration; the moon from the artist’s childhood bedroom window is juxtaposed with a jade comb carved with a crane.

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