OLIVIA HOLDSWORTH



44 AK, 2021. Monotype. 26.5 × 21.5 in.
Mt. Auburn Trio, 2021. Digital print and monotype. 26 × 38.25 in.

There’s an idea in some spiritual circles that energy lingers in certain places and things even long after we’re gone, because all things someone once held sacred can cling to a little bit of the energy and preciousness we put into them. My work, in both subject matter and process, addresses themes of transience, preciousness, permanence, and the question of letting go. For my imagery, I’m drawn to strongly contrasting images of people, places, and other items of personal significance.

With these pieces, I use vivid digital grounds to convey the residual energy in these objects left by the people they were once connected to. The touch I use with each monotype overlayer also reflects this emotional weight—each image I create is centered around something or someone that is or once was precious to someone else, living or otherwise. These places and things are important not because of some grand contribution to history, but because once upon a time someone loved them, and now I do.

Print is the best medium for these works for a number of reasons. The digital print allows me to enlarge small details and tweak my textural monotypes to create the perfect underlayer for each reductive monotype layer over it. Energy is released through physical acts of using a heavy brayer and wiping away large swaths of ink in an almost meditative ritual; there is also a sense of achievement in retaining enough patience to follow the print to completion. Each step involves a lot of trust in my abilities as a printmaker, as each monotype is a unique print and therefore I only have one shot to print each one. This hard-earned trust has ultimately transformed my ability to create work I’m not only proud of, but happy making.