Ep #15 Alan Jones

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OLSEN artist Sophie Cape features in the first Australian Story episode for 2017.

“Described as more like a “rock star” than a painter, Sophie Cape never wanted to be an artist.

A former elite athlete, she was destined for the Olympic Games in two separate sports — first as a downhill ski racer and then as a track cyclist — but her sporting career was shattered after suffering catastrophic injury and undergoing controversial “experimental” body-modification surgery intended to help her performance.

Left physically and psychologically traumatised, Sophie Cape then transformed herself into one of Australia’s most celebrated young artists.

It’s a profession she has long resisted, as both her mother Ann Cape and her grandmother the late Gwenna Welch are highly regarded artists.

But now Sophie Cape has no doubt about becoming the third generation artist in her family: “Art saved me.””

View ‘Adrenaline Brush’ on ABC Monday February 6th at 8pm. View the trailer here

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OLSEN artist George Byrne has recently co-created the title sequence for the brilliant new HULU series ‘Shut Eye’. Created by Leslie Bohem starring Jeffery Donovan, Angus Sampson & KaDee Strickland.

All images from Shine Studio

Watch the opening trailer for ‘Shut Eye’ (featuring Byrne’s work) here

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Olsen gallery would like to congratulate to Bartolomeo Celestino whose book, Surface Phenomena, has been selected to be a part of the exhibition, Photobook Phenomenon in Barcelona, Spain.

The exhibition is being shown simultaneously across two venues in Barcelona, the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (CCCB) and the Foto Colectania Foundation, and explores the world of the photobook from different viewpoints with the aim of understanding its history and language, and analysing the way in which this unique medium is developing.

From a selection made by a committee appointed by specialists and curators in the field, Bartolomeo Celestino’s Surface Phenomena was selected as one of the best photobooks to have been published in the last two years.

Photobook Phenomenon runs from the 17 March – 27 August 2017. For more information visit the website here.

‘SURFACE PHENOMENA’ is available from OLSEN gallery here

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Sydney art dealer Tim Olsen is about to open the doors on one of his most ambitious projects yet: his own gallery in the thick of New York’s cut-throat contemporary art gallery scene.

Located on Elizabeth Street in Soho’s established gallery enclave, Olsen told PS he was confident the move would be a success, with a long list of Australian and international artists set to grace its walls.

Ambitious project: Tim Olsen is launching a New York gallery. Photo: Anthony Johnson

“With so many of my artists selling over here online, and with my sister’s [designer Louise Olsen] Dinosaur Designs shop going great guns after 10 years in New York, add to that our combined contacts, and I feel confident it would do well,” Olsen said from Miami, where he was exhibiting Sydney artist Martine Emdur whose underwater nudes series were selling strongly.

“I have an experienced, great girl living in New York to run the gallery and other international artists who will exhibit with us. It won’t be a marsupial, Aussie-artists-only gallery,” Olsen said.

Tim Olsen, who represents the work of his father John Olsen, pictured at his gallery in 2015. Photo: Steven Siewert

“So often when I travel globally I often come back knowing some of my artists are as good if not better than some of the artists I see exhibiting in major galleries in the northern hemisphere.

“It’s a low overhead experiment that I’m happy to give a couple years to. I hope some of my artists will attract the respect and prices they deserve, instead of being held back by a small economy.”

Olsen, the son of legendary Australian artist John Olsen, said his two existing galleries in Sydney would continue as is, while his list of high-profile artists around the world continues to grow, with the likes of Noah Taylor and Rose Byrne’s brother George Byrne being represented by him “As they say over here, ‘If you can’t buy it in New York, you can’t buy it anywhere.”

OLSEN GRUIN will open in early 2017, situated in the heart of SoHo at 211 Elizabeth Street, New York City, NY.


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11 FEBRUARY – 5 MARCH 2017

Opening reception Saturday 11 February 2-4pm at OLSEN Annexe, 74 Queen Street Woollahra Sydney

This February, OLSEN Annexe will present New York Nowhere featuring artists Alphachanneling, Jay Miriam and Jesse Edwards, curated by Emerald Gruin.

New York Nowhere bridges the artistic boundary between New York and Sydney in preparation for the upcoming 2017 opening of the OLSEN GRUIN gallery space in New York. These three New York artists explore the female form in altered and corresponding ways.

Alphachanneling’s sensual compositions caused a stir in the artist’s first March 2016 solo exhibition at New York’s Jack Hanley Gallery. Referencing ancient, tantric, Taoist, Hindu and Buddhist tropes, Jerry Saltz exclaimed “there’s an outsider-ish Henri Rousseau quality… Sigmar Polke’s easiness of line and simplicity.” Alphachanneling describes the work as “a devotional prayer to the feminine principal.”

Erotic and graceful, Alphachanneling’s lithe compositions contrast with Jay Miriam’s bold painterly strokes and ascetic and heavy female form. Her work draws the viewer into a secret inquiry of her world – abject limbs that are wide open, expressions that are carnal and raw. Miriam’s July 2016 solo exhibition at Half Gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was widely successful for the young painter of twenty-six.

Jesse Edwards is a downtown New York based fine art oil painter with Vito Schnabel Gallery. Edwards’ juxtaposes his thuggish persona and illicit subject matter with the polished application of old master techniques such as underpainting and extensive glazing to bring forward his vision of the All American woman. Edwards’ fascination with card playing and still life composition is superbly illustrated in his compositions of Queen of Hearts and pinup playing cards.

From top: Alphachanneling, P U S S Y- Colour Version (2016), pencil on paper, 45.7 x 30.4cm. Jay Miriam, Waiting in Line for Ice Cream (2016), oil on linen, 137.1 x 101.6cm. Jesse Edwards, Cardhous with Nude (2015), oil on linen, 137.1 x 121.9cm.

OLSEN GRUIN will open in early 2017, situated in the heart of SoHo at 211 Elizabeth Street, New York City, NY.

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Sweet creation: Cake decorator Charmaine Sheehan recreating John Olsen’s painting ‘King Sun & the Hunter’ for the artist’s birthday party at Newcastle Art Gallery. Picture: Marina Nei

The luscious colours and delicious shapes in John Olsen’s art make it a feast for the eyes.

On Saturday at Newcastle Art Gallery, people won’t have to just look. They will be able to devour an Olsen painting. Or, at least, a sweet copy of his art.

One of Australia’s greatest living painters, Olsen is returning to the city of his birth for a party at the gallery to celebrate his 89th birthday.

“I’m just so moved and impressed that Newcastle has remembered me this way,” said Olsen, from his Southern Highlands home.

The party will have about 500 guests, including members of the public who applied for free tickets. The venue, which is a stone’s throw from his childhood home, will be decorated with his art, as the gallery’s current exhibition is ‘John Olsen: The City’s Son’. And the icing on the cake will be an Olsen.

Lake Macquarie cake decorator Charmaine Sheehan has spent about 40 hours baking and brushing, mixing and piping, recreating Olsen’s painting, King Sun & the Hunter, which is the exhibition’s centrepiece. The cake artist admitted she had not heard of John Olsen before receiving the commission. On her way to look at the exhibition, she typed his name into the internet.

“I thought, ‘Oh, no!’, but I like a challenge,” Mrs Sheehan said, as she whipped drops of green food colouring into butter cream to recreate his trademark frogs. “It’s an artwork within an artwork.”

The one-metre long cake’s ingredients include about nine kilograms of butter and 38 packets of icing sugar, and how many kilojoules?

“Too many,” laughed Mrs Sheehan, as she brushed on blue and purple edible paints, representing the Hunter River. “But it will be good on the lips for a while.”

Just as the original is good on the eyes. Olsen painted King Sun & the Hunter as a tribute to his home region. The gallery, along with its society and foundation, is fund-raising to buy the painting, so it can remain in the city’s collection. Gallery manager Lauretta Morton wouldn’t disclose what the target amount was but said “we’re well over half-way” and she was “extremely confident” it would be reached.

The Olsen exhibition has attracted more than 21,000 visitors and generated a lot of excitement.

“I’ve been here 15 years, and I’ve never seen a community connection as strong as this,” said Lauretta Morton.

John Olsen, who couldn’t attend the opening in November due to illness, said it was “very humbling” that there had been such a warm response to the exhibition.

“Never in my life could I have imagined such a thing, it’s moved me very much,” the artist said. “I’m going to make it a habit to visit Newcastle at least two or three times a year.”

Homecoming: Newcastle-born artist John Olsen


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Marisa Purcell’s up coming exhibition on 1 – 19 February entitled ‘Facet (part b) is featured in this month’s Vogue Living Australia.

Featured image from the article: Marisa Purcell, ‘Disperse’, mixed media on linen, 101 x 83cm, $5,800

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In preparation for her 2017 solo show at Olsen Gallery, Laura Jones reflects on her time visiting the Great Barrier Reef for The Gaurdian, written by .

‘The artist says her undeniably sad portraits of bleached coral on the Great Barrier Reef are about resilience: ‘It’s not a fragile delicate flower … it’s so important to be optimistic and do what we can to protect it’.

Laura Jones is pained by the delicate balance she wants to strike. Her paintings of coral bleaching are going to be engulfing, immersive and undeniably sad. But she wants them to express hope and resilience, too.

It’s something she keeps coming back to before, during and after I visit her studio, where she is preparing a major exhibition.


“It’s not a fragile, delicate flower,” Jones says of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. “It’s quite resilient. Somehow I need to show that in the paintings. But still show that we’re really hammering it.”

Partly inspired by the Guardian’s in-depth coverage of coral bleaching in 2016, including around Lizard Island in the northern reef, Jones packed her bags and became an artist-in-residence on the island for 10 days in August.

Diary note from 19 August

‘I set out for Lizard Island after being in Melbourne for three days for a series of art fairs. After a quick stop at my home in Sydney to pick up my camera, art supplies and a wetsuit, I headed for far north Queensland. From Cairns I made the trip to the research station on a tiny six-seater plane. The journey included spectacular views of the reef and the bright blue sky looked like it was melting into the ocean.”

When she got there, she landed in the epicentre of what was the worst bleaching event the Great Barrier Reef had ever seen. Just a few months earlier, about a quarter of the coral on the entire 2,300km length had been killed, with 85% of that mortality in the northern third – right where Jones landed.

She would go snorkelling or diving for four hours a day, and then go back to her workspace – a desk in a lab shared with scientists – where she would sketch what she saw and write in her diary.

Read the full article here

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Sahjeevan and Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) are jointly hosting the ‘Living Lightly: Journeys with Pastoralists’, a Curated Exhibition of the Life and Livelihood of Pastoralists in India, at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi from 2nd to 18th December 2016.

The 17 day curated traveling exhibition on the land, lives, and livelihoods of Pastoralists in India will capture the lives of Indian pastoralists – their remarkable history of mobility, the eco-systems which nurture their life-world, their culture, science, art, spiritual moorings and the economics of herding. It is being organized with the intent to provide space for the voices of pastoral communities, the exhibition will investigate the changing narratives around pastoralism in India, explore the relevance of herding and herders for environmental conservation, and engage in cultural mapping to unfold the various aspects of these communities’ cultural identities. The exhibition will unfold through a host of events and exhibits including pastoral crafts, music, film, and oral narrative performances. Sushma Iyengar is the lead curator of the Exhibition and has spent the last three years putting together the elements central to the exhibition.

The exhibition will be inaugurated by Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Honourable Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, at 5 PM on 2nd December 2016 and will be attended by Pastoralists, NGO functionaries, Academicians, Government Officials, and Policy Makers from across India.

We take this opportunity to invite you to attend the Inaugural Function of the Living Lightly Exhibition on 2nd December 2016, and the other events that are planned from 2nd to 18th December. The Inaugural invite, a general event invite, along with a calendar of events to be held during the Exhibition are attached for your reference. Please share this with your friends and family.



“My work is interested in the transformative and reciprocal nature of desert landscapes, places of
wilderness which inspire in some people a particular type of connection to country. It is more than a
way of living or a spiritual restorative, it is a deeper type of nourishment, a symbiotic and intricate
relationship to the natural world which offers a sense of personal identity and meaning. The Maldhari
herders of Kachchh, the Rann and Rajasthan regions of far north-west India are some of the last truly
authentic exemplifiers of this inclusive relationship. My artworks in this exhibition are informed by
bearing witness to their desert migrations and the resulting riches of cultural creativity that is the legacy
of their lives.
The ancient idea of nomadism, of walking the land with animals according to the terrain, the ecology,
and the daily and seasonal rhythms is a very intimate gathering of knowledge, an environmental Ground
Truth. It is also a fundamental human instinct as important as that of story and myth in the human

                                                              Today, however, it is less and less possible for the world’s desert peoples to move freely across                                                                  their traditional lands and routes. Many rights of passage have been lost and living on these lands is
becoming increasingly complicated and fraught with dangers. Under intensifying pressures on their way
of life in the wake of technology driven global development, the Maldhari have exhibited a remarkable
tenacity that is a testament to the cultural and spiritual importance of this people-place relationship and
the human desire for this intricate connection to the natural world. The real value of their lives is not
only in their inherent understanding of the land, but also the living link they provide to historic
indigenous worlds. They offer a completely original contradiction to the global corruption and
homogenisation of art and culture.

In Australia there is a direct living link to this nomadic spirit and cultural heritage of the Maldhari that
stretches back to 1860 when camels were first brought to the continent from India for inland
explorations in the central deserts. Although the cameleering tradition is a threatened heritage
worldwide, I have spent the last ten years as an Expedition Artist walking into remote empty inland
country alongside a traditional camel string. I gather my knowledge on foot, reaching deep into the
whole context of the land, alert to all the details it holds. There are still things that only the human eye
can see and only the human hand can record. My role as an artist is to not only represent what is seen,
but also the unseen.

I have discovered that the people-place relationship to desert landscapes is very particular. There is a
certain instinct that nomadism, walking and living lightly on these lands inspires. As a fellow desert
traveller, the opportunity to know and work with the Maldhari and their culture was an invaluable
experience. We share a special affinity, a collegiality through our relationship to desert lands and our
instinctive artistic compulsions. The experience has given me a much more profound understanding of
the importance of my own contribution in describing the elusive primary sense that lies in the alliance
to the natural world. It has illuminated the extraordinary value of the art and cultural material that flows
from some of the most seemingly harsh and inhospitable places on the planet.”

Jo Bertini
November 2016

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