Born in 1983 in Bregenz, Lake Constance, Austria
Lives and works in Los Angeles, USA


Austrian-born and based in Los Angeles where she relocated in 2017, Katherina Olschbaur was emboldened by her move to push the boundaries in the tenuous relationship between representation and abstraction, creating the distinct viewpoint in her painting practice for which she is recognized.

view all


-  Diploma in Fine Arts (Painting, Animation Film, Stage Design), University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

-  Erasmus Exchange, Wimbledon College of Art, London, UK

solo shows

-  Perrotin, Paris, France  [forthcoming]

-  Sirens, DANGXIA Art Space, Beijing, China
-  Midnight Spill, Perrotin, Hong Kong, HK SAR

- Prayers, Divinations, Nicodim, New York, NY, USA

- Live Flesh, Nicodim, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- My Kingdom and a Horse (with Dominique Fung), Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest, Romania*
- Night Blessings, Union Pacific, London, UK

- Tortured Ecstasies, Nicodim Upstairs, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- Dirty Elements, curated by Allyson Unzicker, Contemporary Arts Center Gallery, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

- The Divine Hermaphrodite, GNYP Gallery, Berlin, Germany

- Horses, Nicodim, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- Deep Cuts, PØST, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- WILDE REITER, OOF Books, Los Angeles, CA, USA

- Liquid Promises, curated by Mia Laska, Bendix Building, Los Angeles, CA, USA

- Haunted by Strokes, Galerie Werkstadt Graz, Austria
- Von Tangenten und Passanten (with Luisa Kasalicky), LLLLLL Space, Vienna, Austria*

- The Opening, Brick 5 Theater, Vienna, Austria
- PONG (with Olivia Kaiser), Kunstraum am Schauplatz, Vienna, Austria*

- Über Malerei, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria
- Dickicht (with Matthias Buch), Büro Weltausstellung, Vienna, Austria*

- Wicked Walls, Museum auf Abruf (MUSA) – Museum on Demand, Vienna, Austria
- Schatten und Wirbel, Museum Spoerri, Hadersdorf am Kamp, Austria
- Into Deeper Lands at Open Sea, Magazin, Vienna, Austria

- Unsichere Räume, Kunstraum Praterstraße 15, Vienna, Austria

- Yussuf/Cermak (with Lorenz Helfer), Galerie Lisi Hämmerle, Bregenz, Austria*

*Two-artist exhibitions

group shows

Vampire::Mother, Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, USA

-  October +, Perrotin, Paris, France

-  Somatic Markings, Kasmin, New York, NY, USA
The 14th Biennial of Contemporary African Art (Dak’Art), Dakar, Senegal

-  My Secret Garden, Asia Art Center, Taipei, China
-  Density Betrays Us, The Hole, New York, USA
-  Women in Paris, Eric Hussenot, Paris, France
-  Friend Zone, Half Gallery, New York, USA

-  PAPA RAGAZZE!, Nicodim Upstairs, Los Angeles, USA
-  Quixotic, Ramp Gallery, London, UK
-  When You Waked Up the Buffalo, Nicodim, Los Angeles, USA
-  A Peripheral Reverie, Penske Projects, Montecito, USA
-  We Used to Gather, Library Street Project, Detroit, USA
-  What’s Up Twenty Twenty, Lawrence Van Hagen, London, UK
-  New Beginnings..., curated by Katherina Olschbaur, Nicodim Gallery  [online]
-  Hollywood Babylon: A Re-Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (presented by Jeffrey Deitch, Nicodim Gallery, and AUTRE Magazine), Los Angeles, CA, USA

Kardinal König Prize exhibition, Kunstraum St. Virgil, Salzburg, Austria
-  LA on Fire, curated by Michael Slenske, Wilding Cran Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Goddess in Practice, Kunstraum Retz, Austria
-  Todas Mis Damas, Mexico City, Mexico
-  Trans World, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest, Romania, and Nicodim, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Everlasting Light, Tim Nolas, Vienna, Austria
-  Our Lady of the Flowers, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest, Romania

-  SEED, curated by Yvonne Force Villareal, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY, USA
-  BioPerversity, Nicodim, Los Angeles, CA, USA
-  Formal Encounters, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest, Romania
-  Soft Bodies, Werkartz, Los Angeles, CA, USA

-  Galerie M, curated by Bernhard Buhmann, Galerie Z, Hard, Austria
-  Pictures of Nothing, curated by Arie Amaya-Akkermans, PG Art Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
-  A Painters Table: Symposium on Painting and Change, curated by Bianca Regl, BLACKBRIDGE OFF, Beijing, China
-  "moi non-moi" or "carrying owls to Athens", curated by Amer Abbas and Stefan Bidner, Wiener Art Foundation, Athens, Greece

-  Summer in the City, Galerie Christine König, Vienna, Austria
-  Paper doesn´t blush, Αισχύλου 31, Ψυρρή, curated by Stefan Bidner, Wiener Art Foundation, Athens, Greece

-  Buchstabenfest, Zollamt, Bad Radkersburg, Austria
-  Colour Value Vienna #1, Büro Weltausstellung, Vienna, Austria
-  The Katharsis Show, Vienna Art Foundation, Vienna, Austria
-  Mujeras Alcanzando la Luz, Casa Museo del Banco National, Panama City, Panama

Parallelwelten, Galerie Gerersdorfer, Vienna, Austria
Die große Illusion, Atelier Steinbrener / Dempf & Huber, Vienna, Austria
-  Hier und Jetzt, Habsburgerwohnung, curated by Renate Quehenberger, Vienna, Austria
Anton Faistauer Prize for Painting exhibition, Galerie im Traklhaus, Salzburg, Austria

-  Triangel, Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn und Taxis, Bregenz, Austria
-  If sport is the brother of labour, then art is the cousin of unemployment, Camp Art Space, Athens, Greece
-  Wie weit willst Du gehen? Pinacoteca, curated by Ursula Maria Probst, Vienna, Austria
-  Dada Restaurant, Art Athina, Independent Platform, Athens, Greece
-  Picture Show, Alabama Sir Raum, Leipzig 21 Posters by 21 Artists, Magazin Vienna, Vienna, Austria

-  Magic Bus, curated by Tobias Pils, Museum Gironcoli, Vienna, Austria
-  Abstraktion und Subtraktion, Galerie Lisa Ruyter, Vienna, Austria
-  Predicting Memories, Vienna Art Week, K.K. Telegraphenamt, Vienna, Austria
-  Up and Down and Up, VBKÖ, Vienna, Austria
-  Paliano, Palais Liechtenstein, Feldkirch, Austria

-  Symbiosis: XI Biennale de la Mediterranée, Thessaloniki, Greece
-  From erewhon to who knows when…, curated by Christian Egger, Kunstverein Schattendorf, Austria
-  Before the movies the paintings were like the movies, moe, Vienna, Austria
-  On Steep Waves, curated by Arie Amaya Akkermans, ReMap 3, Athens, Greece

-  Sweet Anticipation, curated by Övül Durmusoglu, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria
Georg Eisler Prize exhibition, Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria
Nachbilder (with Olivia Kaiser, Stefan Wirnsperger), Galerie Elisabeth Michitsch, Vienna, Austria
-  Und immer fehlt mir etwas und das quält mich, Kunstgruppe, Cologne, Germany
Neue malerische Positionen, Galerie Lukas Feichtner, Vienna, Austria
-  MAL X, Kunstraum Goethestraße, Linz, Austria
-  Unsichere Räume, Kunstraum flat 1, Vienna, Austria

-  Reden ist Silber Zeigen ist Gold, Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
-  Games, Kunsthalle Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria

-  Bon Appetit, Galerie Lisi Hämmerle, Bregenz, Austria
-  Real, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems an der Donau, Austria

R4 Zoom, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

public collections

Angerlehner Museum, Thanlheim bei Wels, Austria
Belvedere 21 Museum of Contemporary Art, Vienna, Austria
Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Miami, USA
Black Rock Collection, Lagos, Nigeria
Cc Foundation, Shanghai, China
Collection of the City of Vienna, Austria
Collection of the Province of Vorarlberg, Austria
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, USA
Illwerke Collection, Vorarlberg
Longlati Foundation, Shanghai, China
Oskar Kokoschka Centre, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria
Pond Society, Shanghai, China
Yageo Foundation, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China


-  Nominee, Kardinal König Art Prize, Salzburg, Austria

-  Painting Prize, Internationale Bodensee Konferenz, Lake Constance, Switzerland

-  Nominee, Kapsch Contemporary Art Prize, Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok) Vienna, Austria

-  Award of Appreciation, Art and Culture Prize, Province of Vorarlberg, Austria

-  Start Award, Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, Vienna, Austria

-  Theodor Körner Prize, Vienna, Austria
-  Scholarship award, Anni und Heinrich Sussmann Foundation, Vienna, Austria

- Travel and research grant (for a project on Bruno Schulz), University of Applied Sciences, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel

-  Honor, Tricky Women Award, Vienna, Austria


-  Black Rock Senegal, Dakar, Senegal

-  Red Gate Residency, Bejing, China

-  Annexes Bourglingster, Luxembourg

-  CCA Andratx, Mallorca, Spain

-  Arlberg Hospiz Hotel Residency, Tyrol, Austria

-  Domus Artium, Paliano, Italy

  • April 14, 2023
    NYLON China — 20 PAGES

  • April 6, 2023
    W Magazine — 5 PAGES

  • April 5, 2023
    Bazaar Art — 13 PAGES

  • March 23, 2022
    Contemporary Art — 7 PAGES

  • January 25, 2022
    Juxtapoz — 3 PAGES

Extract from essay for Katherina Olschbaur's solo exhibition "Prayers, Divinations" at Nocodim Gallery, New York City, USA (September 7 - October 22, 2022)

by Folasade Ologundudu

...[Olschbaur] combines small portraits with large-scale paintings in her signature surrealist oeuvre, blending figuration and abstraction with sweeping gestural marks. Her drawings, though never included in an exhibition, are integral to Olschbaur's practice, and form the backdrop of her fascination with Renaissance and Baroque-style paintings where themes of religious authority often take center stage. Leaning towards the freedom found in rebellion, she recenters our gaze giving grace and reverence to her figures. Colorful sketches reveal illuminating compositions in luscious oils. Abstract bodies leap off canvases and traverse into dark shadows in a series of electrifying hues. An ensemble of worlds collides where figures blend and reemerge in faraway landscapes only to be unearthed in the recesses of vivid imaginings. The narratives of each work are open ended suggesting layers of memory, lapses in time, and fleeting moments recaptured.

There is a tenderness in Olschbaur's portraiture, an earnestness in her striking use of color. Prayers are asked, answered, and faith is questioned and tested again and again. A sense of tranquility blends with the contrasting vibrancy of her palette. Warm yellows, golds, and soft greens create peaceful scenes that lend themselves to the unconventional beauty of the surreal. Piercing magentas sit comfortably next to cool blues and a dizzying visual effect takes hold. In her approach to oil painting, like the medium itself, Olschbaur slows down, savoring the passage of time over hours, days, and weeks. She reexamines works to uncover hidden mysteries and an underlying moodiness with each new revision. Methodically accessing memories layer by layer, she relishes in her imagination.

...Since her grandmother passed on the last day of her 2021 residency at Black Rock in Dakar, Senegal, Olschbaur has been captivated by notions of death and the transition of life...Deeply rooted in her personal experiences [since 2020] the works..are at once intimate and formal, questioning notions of selfhood and the responsibility of the artist when depicting someone else. For Olschbaur, portraiture is the ultimate prayer and in this exhibition, with which she begs a most pressing question: How can I capture the spirit of another person?

Extract from "Petals in the Mud", essay for Katherina Olschbaur's solo show Dirty Elements at Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) Gallery University of California, Irvine (January 11 – March 14, 2020)

by Allyson Unzicker

Katherina Olschbaur’s paintings start as fervently generated sketches and drawings. Dealing with unconscious desire, she applies tactics of Surrealism, creating compositions that meld human bodies, objects, animals, and formal elements. Distorting perspective and proportion, she shifts between representation and abstraction. These dream-scapes are rendered with gestural, expressive strokes that create depth through transparent layering. Olschbaur applies this fluid motion to transfiguring familiar compositions of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Romanticism and deconstructing their overarching narratives. She recomposes these masterworks by identifying their underlying perversions and transforming them into sensual spaces of erotic delight. Olschbaur examines cultural myths—in both the historical and Roland Barthian sense—around gender and patriarchy amidst our current political chaos.

...Olschbaur appropriates from a history of canonized male painters in order to subvert power structures and challenge the conditions and experiences of desire and female sexuality...Frequently, Olschbaur’s figures and landscapes unravel to a point where bodies and their features become obscured or take on surreal proportions. With gestural and disruptive mark making, Olschbaur gives shape to irregularities: limbs go missing, faces blur, and bodies merge into abstract shapes...Olschbaur creates a fictitious space that, rather than proposing escape, is generative and offers a means for contemplating unrealized possibilities.