Oliver Lunn is a London-based artist. He works predominantly in mixed media collage.
Born in 1987, Lunn grew up in the southeast of England. He studied Fine Art in Bath, Somerset, where his twin influences were Cy Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg. Originally working as a painter, Lunn searched for new mark-making techniques. He was compelled by muted colours and ghostly marks, his works displaying a sensitivity and a soft touch. His attention switched from painting to collage around the time he caught a joint exhibition of John Cage’s drawings and Rauschenberg’s mixed media paintings.
Lunn approaches collage in the same way as his paintings. He embraces mishaps, marks and stains. He hunts for old magazines in charity shops; he scoops up old papers in the street; he employs soft colours and faint imagery that aren't always visible on first glance.
Today Lunn is focussed on multi-layered works. In these pieces, he builds up layers, sands them down, peels them back, working back into the piece and reshaping it.
My collage work is rooted in my former practice as a painter. Much of my visual sensibility - the muted colour palette, the ghostly layers and the tension between manmade marks and printed graphics - has carried over into working with glue and paper. My aesthetic is partly shaped by my influences, which tend not to directly relate to collage. I look at painters like Cy Twombly, whose squiggles and faint layers have had an enormous impact on me; and Robert Rauschenberg’s textured paintings where images get lost behind the paint.
In my work I explore themes of loss and decay, with a visual language that embraces the gentle and soft. I’m interested in sensitive marks that evoke human touch, which hopefully conveys the bittersweet feeling that I’m compelled by. I’m also interested in the presence of the past, in visual ghosts and echoes. I approach this more in an abstract sense, as opposed to showing an actual scene with clean-cut figures. In everything I do, it’s important for me that it looks and feels handmade. Collage as a medium excites me most when it steers away from arts and crafts and graphic design, when it doesn’t scream for your attention. I’m looking to express what I feel with a whisper, with quiet details that lurk in the background. I invite the viewer to lean in, take a closer look, and enjoy these details that might be overlooked on first glance.