Olivia Jia

Artist's Biography

Olivia Jia is a painter who lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. She contributes to Title Magazine and the Broad Street Review. She attended Yale Norfolk in 2015 and holds a BFA from the University of the Arts.

Artist's Statement

I paint archives, books, museum displays – objects that form portals to the past, or at least seem to perform in such a manner. In my paintings, the architectures of these institutional forms are ambivalent structures. They are functional objects of taxonomy yet often reveal little by the way of linguistic denotation. The artifacts and images I depict are framed in these structures, removed from genuine archaeological context, evasive. For me, archaeology is the attempt to capture something of the past that is fleeting – to establish landmarks of history, that we may feel less untethered in the currents of time – to craft a sense of collective memory that springs from encounters with tangible things rather than mythology.

Through painting, I attempt to better understand my relationship with various strands of history, from the public to the private. I think of painting as another kind of excavation, in which material is shifted to discover something previously unknown; once paint has coated the surface of a panel, it is a matter of renegotiating edges, of pushing the material this way and that, of committing to an action and seeing how the painting reacts, until the image reveals itself.

Selected Exhibitions

Everything I disbelieve & all the things I can’t deny, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Situational Truths, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Get it while it’s cheap #5, Marginal Utility, Philadelphia, PA

Powdered Mass, NEW BOON(E), Philadelphia, PA

Relic Futura, Gallery One, Philadelphia, PA

Press Start, NEW BOON(E), Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia 2076, Space 1026, Philadelphia, PA

Linked, Gallery 128, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia PA

MERGE, Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, PA

Yale Norfolk Summer Show, Yale University School of Art, Norfolk, CT

BalletX Benefit Exhibition, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Glowing, Radiating, Imaginary, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Awards and Honors

Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship, Yale University

Avery Scholarship, University of the Arts

Trustee Scholarship, University of the Arts

Bunker Scholarship, University of the Arts

American Visions Medal, Scholastic Art & Writing Award


University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
BFA with Honors, Fine Arts Minors in Philosophy and Art History

Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Summer Painting Intensive

Summer School of Art, Yale University at Norfolk, Norfolk, CT