Taking as her point of inspiration the psychological phenomenon of synesthesia—where the temporal character of music can manifest itself in a spatial symbol, where colors can be heard, and flavors become tactile—Olivia Kapoor is known to work with materials that are easy to apply, and quick to dry. Often composed of acrylics and oil pastels, her canvases translate the layered quality of synaesthetic experience into spontaneous formal perceptions, where figures and the relationships between them correspond to what can only be grasped introspectively, in the intimacy of reflective awareness.
Kapoor’s paintings represent luminous topographies and archetypal figures, in an effort to connect realms of experience generally thought to be irreducibly separate. Particolored grids, the undulant repetition of geometric forms, lone figures reclining in a dreamlike landscape—these tropes fill Kapoor’s visionary canvases, instilling into them what she has called their “futuristic” quality. Yet this future is not without a connection to the past, and one intuits in Kapoor’s works echoes of the more spiritual avant-gardes of the late 19th and early 20th century, where subjectivity was used as a vehicle to express the inexpressible.