Olivia Petrides' drawings are immersive, large-scale abstractions based on her travels in the arctic North Atlantic since 1993. She is interested in how evocations of sublime natural phenomena resonate with the tensions and pressures of contemporary times. She has focused on drawing as a medium because of its direct, elemental and transparent nature. It is of great importance to her that her drawings display characteristics that are distinct from painting, that ideas of "mark," and "gesture" are paramount.
Petrides has had numerous exhibits in galleries and museums in Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scotland, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Her works are included in the public collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Park Service, the Field Museum, the Illinois State Museum, Openlands Preservation Association, and Iceland’s Hafnarborg Institute of Art, among others. She has received numerous grants, and artist residencies, among which are a Fulbright Grant, American-Scandinavian Foundation Grants, and an Illinois Arts Council Governor’s Exchange Award, and Special Projects Grant; Klimek Grant. She has been awarded residencies at the Reykjavik Kjarvalstadir Museum and the Gil-society in Iceland; the Faroe Islands Museum of Natural History; the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; the Vermont Studio Center; Yellowstone National Park; and the Ragdale Foundation. Petrides received her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Painting & Drawing Department and the Visual Communications Department.