top of page

"As soon as I know what the outcome is going to be, I feel like I’m cheating… at that point, it’s like I’m painting a pretty picture, not working with the paint."

Olivia Longstaff (b. 1997) is a British Abstract Expressionist painter whose work focuses on a meaningful engagement with paint. Interested in the formal elements of painting and the simple manipulation of its characteristics, Olivia explores the conversation between the application of paint and the physicality of the surface on which it’s applied. 


As the daughter of a military family, Olivia’s early life was punctuated by moving from country to country, with her family finally settling in North Yorkshire. With change being something she would acclimatise to from a young age, her artistic practice is defined by a very process-led and intuitive approach. A desire to delve further into this method of working saw her move course from Edinburgh College of Art, where she began, to Newcastle University, where she would complete her BFA.


Olivia is fascinated by the process of creating tension within each of her works, looking to strike the balance between something formed, and something falling apart. Working predominantly on large scale canvases, using varying density oil paint, Olivia manipulates the order of gesture and mark by both layering and scraping back paint, in order to play with one’s understanding of order and depth on a two dimensional surface. 

Her notable solo shows include: ‘A Painter’s Conversation’, at The Pontone Gallery in London in 2023, ‘Perspectives’, at The Rafiki Gallery [The Koppel Project] in New Bond Street, London in 2022, ‘The Marks to Prove it’, at The Rafiki Gallery in London in 2021, ‘Tension’, at the Galerie Arcimboldo in Prague in 2019. 


With group shows including ‘Balcony3 -The Headless Way’, at 29 Marylebone Lane in London in 2023, and ‘Under one Roof’, at The Hancock Museum in Newcastle in 2022.


bottom of page