Olivia Jia (b. 1994, Chicago, IL) works have a somnambulant quality, appearing as if scenes encountered in a state between sleep and waking. Frequently depicting imagined books and ephemera, each painting is constructed around a tableau that the artist has arranged, incorporating material collected by herself or in the possession of family members, alongside references to American and Chinese art histories. Informed by Jia’s own diasporic identity as the child of Chinese immigrants to the United States, ideas of kinship, heritage, longing and belonging are negotiated through the constellations of elements she gathers together in her compositions. You can see how she translated her style into a coloring book page in Between the Lines: An RxART Coloring Book by Contemporary Artists – Volume 9.
Jia received a BFA from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia in 2017. Honors include the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship to attend the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art in 2015 and the President’s Award at the University of the Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include Perimeter at Margot Samel, New York, NY (2023) and Ex Libris at Workplace, London, UK (2022). Selected group shows include The Blue Hour, Workplace, London, UK (2023); To whom do I owe the power behind my voice?, curated by Tally de Orellana, Commonweal, Philadelphia, PA (2023); An Exchange of Shifting Atmospheres, curated by Leslie Moody Castro and Ricky Yanas, La Nao, Mexico City, MX (2023); To be a giant and keep quiet about it, Margot Samel, New York, NY (2022); Painting As Is II, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, NY (2022); Kaleidoscope, Workplace, London, UK (2022); To be a giant and keep quiet about it, Yee Society, Hong Kong (2022); An Exchange of Shifting Atmospheres, curated by Leslie Moody Castro and Ricky Yanas, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia, PA (2022); It feels like the first time, Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL (2021); Room for One, Napoleon Project Space, curated by Daniel Oliva, Philadelphia, PA (2020); Second Nature: The Poetics of Re-presentation, The Woodmere Museum 78th Annual Juried Exhibition, curated by Eileen Neff, Philadelphia, PA (2019); Untitled, Dongsomun, Seoul, Korea (2017). Jia has an upcoming solo exhibition at Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia, PA in November 2023.