Olivia Davis was born in Paris and educated in Canada, England, Switzerland and France. Having grown up in a family of industrialists (her great grandfather was the engineer and scientist Auguste Rateau, inventor of the turbo compressor, and Rateau turbines), she attended art schools in Paris: the Atelier Farrey Art School and Centre d'Art et Technique Artisanale.
Her work on silk prepared the ground for her perception of the world as a block of colours and shapes. In the past, Olivia's silk paintings have been exhibited in the USA, Canada, Mexico and France. Not content with the two dimensional feel of silk painting, Olivia started to expand her appreciation of other artistic media, including pastels which allowed a more flowing and more subtle expression, and she turned her hand to Interior Design and Public Art.
The process of her development across and through these quite different media has resulted in the intriguing blend of subtlety and brashness which is manifested in her current collection of paintings in acrylic and mixed media, on canvas. She has always been intrigued by the industrial world. Her earliest memory of iconic pieces of engineering are the Quebec Bridge and the Eiffel Tower, which inspired her vision.
The fascinating environment of the world of Motor Sport and specially Formula One offers fertile ground for exploring the balance between mechanical shapes and the designers and drivers who set them in motion. The result is a dynamic cocktail of colours and industrial shapes which, through their sensitive juxtaposition, draws the viewer into an exciting world.
BLACK ON BLACK
This series of paintings is a study of the checkered flag which is always present in my Formula One paintings. The black and white checkered design is a widely used basic design and I wanted to develop it in an alternative way and see where it would bring me.
My original inspiration for this work was from Australia, where I have had the good fortune to travel to several times. There, I progressively learned how to appreciate Aboriginal art, which is uniquely patterned and evocative. Its expression is simple and beautiful.
I started from the basis of allowing myself black as the only colour in my painting. Many will have different views on whether black is a colour, but in its unique position as the ultimate contrast to white, I do consider it to be the ultimate colour. The raised dots add volume to the matt and varnished areas. I then decided to relieve the blackness with a contrasting dash of colour to distract the eye and add dimension to help the whole piece to come together - the observer is drawn into the painting, piercing the blackness and resolving the
challenge to the eye.
It is at this point that one is caught off guard. The black is no longer just black, but a reflection of colours. It moves, it lives. Light bounces off it, and different shapes appear, depending on how the light filters or flows onto the painting.
The raised dots are sometimes seen, and then sometimes not seen. I defy anyone not to want to touch them. Tactile art is a therapeutic pastime in its own right!
These paintings can fit within a contemporary or classic interior of any home. They also work well within offices or entrance halls of office or apartment buildings.
Olivia was nominated for the SPORTS ARTIST OF THE YEAR AWARD 2007 from the ASAMA in the United States, Olivia was the only woman among the six finalists.