O L I V I A M U N R O E
About Olivia Munroe
In the four decades over which Olivia Munroe has refined her studio practice, she has explored concepts of
memory, tranquility, simplicity and illumination. Munroe's process is complex and unique, allowing her to transform the fundamentals of geometry into visual experiences that range in tone from the absolute to the
euphoric. Focused and purposeful, Munroe works in series that emerge from her oeuvre in layers of
concentration and experimentation.
In her collages, Munroe's process generates passages that reveal a synchronicity found only in the course of
formal reasoning. Though intuitive, her methodology is assiduous and deliberate, accumulating as stratum of beeswax-infused cloth are fused together in geometric patterns. In the Constructed Collages, she accesses the essential, archetypal symbols that have formed the basis of our artistic heritage. For Munroe, meaning
emerges through a complex process of layering pigmented cloth, string, beeswax and gold in geometric configurations, evoking purity, transcendence and symmetry.
The Pentimento series features aspects of collage in which the embossed, burnished surfaces yield to layers of dimensionality created by superimposing layers of wax-infused linen on to complex architectures. Employing the
most fundamental geometric constructs - circles and squares - Munroe defines a spatial environment that is
both introspective and formally robust.
In the Histories series, Munroe summons evocations of illuminated manuscripts, sacred writings, scrolls, codices and sutras. Their tactile surfaces conjure nonliteral texts and the intricate designs of global cultures as if discovered from within an ancient civilization. Measuring 9 3/4 x 7 5/8 inches, the works provide an intimate experience in which color and calligraphic strokes coalesce into meditative tablets. Brilliant hues merge with gold and silver as
layers of wax and pigment conjoin in an elusive pictorial space.
The Illuminations generate a euphoric visual aura as circles of ink and gold swirl like whirling dervishes across
the picture plane. Ethereal and sumptuous, here Munroe creates an optical crossroads that conjures both mindfulness and visual delirium. Creating a similar experience in graphite, the Edges of Infinity series emerged
during a period of mourning after the death of her father. Conjuring Hindi and Buddhist devotional practices such
as circumnabulation, in this body of work Munroe navigates the spiritual, eliciting smoky incense whorls and, as
the halos whirl off the page into a celestial unknown, a distinct sense of the eternal.
Olivia Munroe has a BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her award-winning etchings published by John Szoke Graphics are included in numerous public, private and corporate collections, among
them the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution.