An Italian-British artist, Lavinia Harrington is presently completing her MFA in Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in the History of Art in 2008, and two years later gained her MA degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She has fifteen years of experience working in arts education; delivering public talks for the National Gallery in London and teaching in museums, galleries and schools across the United Kingdom and Italy. In 2022 she took part in the group show I Felt That - a collaborative, care-centered project addressing the gender pain gap - at The Tub, an artist-run project space in Hackney, London. More recently, Harrington’s work was included in the group show Somewhere In Between at the Hew Hood Gallery in Islington, London. Harrington’s grounding in the history of art, as a student, scholar and teacher, has had a profound impact on her work. As the artist has said, ‘having specialized in the Italian Renaissance, I’ve spent most of my academic and professional career looking predominantly at artworks by white western male artists. Over time, I’ve filled boxes and boxes with postcards, magazine cuttings and all sorts of images I collected whilst teaching abroad…I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to engage with artworks first hand on such a regular basis – it’s certainly helped me to also build up an imaginary library of images to draw upon, whether consciously or unconsciously whilst I work…But, it’s been my focus on women artists that has felt most empowering in terms of developing my own practice. I was drawn to pastels as a medium after handling one [of] Joan Mitchell’s breathtaking drawings in the gallery I worked for back in 2014. My recent pilgrimage to see her sensational exhibition in Baltimore was nothing short of lifechanging…I find the immediacy and intimacy of works on paper and embroidery really appealing, particularly works by Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Helen Frankenthaler, Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Saville, Rachel Jones and Joana Choumali.’ Harrington works primarily on paper, using in particular handmade papers to which she applies pastels, raw pigments and water-based materials, responding to the tactual sensation, fragility and intensity of the medium. Much of her visceral process involves the folding and layering of paper, often applying the pastel or pigment directly onto the sheet laid flat on the floor, while collage and assemblage are also an important part of her method. As the artist has stated, ‘My pieces emerge over many unseen, unresolved layers and erasures, and are folded and unfolded in the process...I believe in, and am sensitive to, the inherent agency of colour and material…Working with paper has become integral to my practice for the intimacy and immediacy it elicits.’

Artworks by this artist