LONDON ART FAIR
16 - 21 January 2024
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper St, London, N1 0QH
Olivia Strange's multifarious practice navigates the intersections of sculpture, painting, and installation, examining visual narratives which challenge patriarchal nuances. Characterised by a visceral aesthetic, Strange's work investigates the queer female experience, in both love and life. Her presentation at the London Art Fair showcases new wall-based sculptures, painting, and free-standing sculptures, which explore the liminal spaces between longing, loss, attachment, spirituality and pleasure. At the heart of Strange's practice lies an interest in desire, vulnerability, and empowerment. Concepts such as 'Limerence'—becoming so attached to a projected fantasy in favour of seeing the reality —are explored unflinchingly, revealing the gritty sides of passion, love, and rejection.
Witch-like talons, a recurring motif for Strange, poke, prod, and beckon, adorned with perfectly pointed manicures reminiscent of fictional characters from film and TV. These works pay homage to the womxn persecuted as witches, honouring those who defied societal norms and embraced their inherent wisdom, while challenging patriarchal ideals in the face of horror.
The juxtaposition of porcelain-like and pastel candy-coloured forms, with the high shine of a cold metal piercing engages a dialogue around queer sensuality. Dislocated and amorphous bodily forms, tentacles, and oysters intertwine, creating a dynamic tension between the softness of flesh and the metal that splices through it. Strange's deliberate use of found metal adds a layer of detachment to cut through the sickly-sweet pepto bismol coloured palette, inviting viewers to contemplate the interplay of intimacy, power-dynamics and desire. Her works intentionally provoke a sense of voyeurism, prompting viewers to decode layers of stereotyping, myth and possibility.
The works presented at London Art Fair serve as a visual journey through love, loss, grief, joy and pleasure, subverting traditional norms and embracing the diversity of queer identities. Soft pink and cake-like elements, promising sweetness, lead to alluring snapshots in time, somewhere between pain, power-play, and pleasure.
Olivia Strange's exhibition actively contributes to the ongoing dialogue around feminine power, sexual freedom, and the pursuit of pleasure. It invites viewers to explore the boundaries of identity, question societal norms, whilst honouring the enduring strength of the female experience.