Oliver Osborne (b. 1985, Edinburgh, Scotland) studied at Chelsea College of Art and later completed a postgraduate diploma at the Royal Academy School in London. He was named one of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2012.
The paintings of Oliver Osborne contemplate the theme of visual communication through the use of appropriated drawings that have been removed from their original context.
Osborne's recent work involves the use of cartoon-style images from old European textbooks. These have been juxtaposed against monochromatic canvases of an impressive scale, which have been depicted in varying colours. Simultaneously undermining and underscoring the references to the volumes from which they are sourced, these images work with contradictions. Though their sheer size dissuades these links, they are often portrayed in a diptych, which then becomes reminiscent of open pages. At once familiar and strange, the illustrated figures are no longer associated with their speech bubbles and yet they remain accessible to the viewer. The artist is playing with themes of opposition and the dissemination of information.
Additionally, Osborne experiments with painstakingly depicted, almost photorealistic paintings of rubber plants. Though usually represented individually and on a smaller scale, occasionally they too become backgrounds for the figurative cartoons. Both series are created with a simplicity of style, exploring easily recognisable and often humorous signs.
Osborne's work circles around contrasts and comparisons; even in the gallery space his small linen paintings of plants become juxtaposed against the unusual imagery of the much larger monochrome canvases. He also experiments with collages, placing mixed media in the foreground against simplified and neutral backgrounds. Mixing genres and styles, Osborne investigates associated meanings and creates unusual combinations of abstraction, figuration, and found images.