Olivia Faith Harwood (b. 1999, San Diego, CA, she/her) is a painter and sculptor who currently lives Portland, OR. She received her BFA in Painting at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2021 and is currently working as an Archivist and Studio Assistant at Marie Watt Studios. She has exhibited a Solo Show at Fuller Rosen Gallery and Group show at Well Well Projects in Portland, OR. Harwood attended the Vermont Studio Center Residency in October, 2023. She has been published in the 2022 Portland Critics Pick in Artforum, Spring 2022 Art & About Portland Blog, 2022 Portland Mercury Spring Arts Preview. Harwood is the recipient of the Helen Director Memorial Scholarship (2020-2021), the Gamblin Paint Prize (2020) and the Nancy Tonkin Memorial Scholarship (2019-2020).
Olivia Harwood’s mystical, maximalist scenarios have been inspired by memories of childhood, personal experiences and of the monstrous feminine. Staring the audience in the eye, she uses femininity and girlhood as a tool to confront the viewer.
Harwood empowers herself by painting her body in exposed positions, revealing and depicting her own experiences to create a platform for discussion. She moves through self memories by confronting uncomfortable histories, challenging developed rituals, and reflecting on emotional shames and adolescent dilemmas. Some of her most recent work is discussing the cruel and unjust changes to reproductive rights in America.
Her visual language takes influence from feminist surrealism, her natural surroundings, pop culture and horror films. In her paintings, she depicts snarling dogs, disguised sheep, crucified uteruses and vessels of creation. Harwood wants the audience to feel empowered, enraged and maybe even a little disgusted. She wants her audience to leave with a personal connection to the imagery and create their own emotional bond with the work.