Art and memorabilia: July 2018

Olivia Davis

Who doesn’t want to deconstruct F1? This artist does it, in 2D

If there’s one symbol of motor racing it’s the chequered flag, and it overlays much of Olivia Davis’s work. The Paris-born French-Canadian, who has lived in the UK for 32 years, says “It’s a question of making the observer think and extract the image for themselves rather than being given a straightforward representation.”

And while she also paints cricket, cycling and deep sea fishing, that image is likely to be Formula 1. “The Formula 1 car is a fascinating object” she says. “I’ve watched a lot of F1 and enjoy attending races. Nothing beats those smells and sounds.”

Olivia works directly on to the canvas without preparatory sketches, using acrylics and other elements such as paper or metal leaf. “At the beginning it looks like any drawing of a car but as the other elements are added – company name, logo, circuit markings, etc – there develops an overlay of several drawings which I then break down as I paint. I work with an enormous amount of masking tape which helps me to paint several layers of colour.”

Abstract art is a rarity in automotive art. Her style, she says, developed from her love of industrial shapes such as bridges, factories and constructions like the Eifel Tower – “basically geometry. I like to deconstruct what I see and just represent what I feel are the essential parts.”

The driving force, she says, is to explore “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 draws the viewer in.”