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Painting (MA)

Olivia Longstaff

B. 1997, Olivia was born in North Yorkshire and spent most of her earlier years moving around the world with her family. Her time is split between London and Montana. She obtained her BFA from Newcastle University, and is currently studying on the MA Painting course at The Royal College of Art. 

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesPainting (MA)RCA2023 at Battersea and Kensington

RCA Battersea, Painting Building, First and second floors

Close up image of work

‘My practice requires me to be present in order to allow the subconscious to happen. It is, after all, the subconscious that throws intention up in the air. 

Spatiality plays a significant role in my developing practice. Attention is drawn to the surface of the canvas, yet the deliberate use of heavy brushstrokes and line serves to obscure it. The result is an arena of canvas where space and matter grapple — to emphasise and obscure one another simultaneously. 

In this series I explore the idea of functional marks. To me they create a tension between the determined and undetermined, allowing me to engage with the space between. The functional marks serve to create moments of humour or lightness that offer respite from the intensity of the marks beneath.’



Oil On canvas


160 x 200cm