A Congratulations to our artists

OLSEN Gallery would like to congratulate NICHOLAS HARDING , JULIAN MEAGHER and FIONA MCMONAGLE who were all selected as finalists in the 2018 Archibald Prize , as well as JOHN OLSEN who is a finalist in this year’s Wynne Prize.

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Julian Meagher_TheDesignFiles

Julian Meagher spoke with The Design Files about the inspiration behind his newest exhibition Inlet/Oulet, on view at Olsen Gallery from Wednesday, March 21st.


Read the full article here: http://thedesignfiles.net/2018/03/inlet-outlet-by-julian-meagher/


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Butt Naked II | Alan Jones

Congratulations to Alan Jones and the Sydney Art Quartet for the success of the Butt Naked Salon II at The Yellow House.


To read about the show, please click the link here.

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Camie Lyons | Out on a Limb

Camie Lyons speaks with Maria Stolja about her practice and technique for her upcoming show, Out on a Limb, at OLSEN Gallery.

Exhibition runs from 1 – 19 November

Opening Saturday 4 November 2 – 4 pm

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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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This December, international, post-conceptual artists Rob Pruitt and Jonathan Horowitz will be showing at OLSEN.

Both based in New York City, this exhibition will be the first time both artist have featured in an Australian gallery.


Jonathan Horowitz slides down the surface of things. He engages with the material of everyday life (from celebrities and celebrity causes to politics and philosophy, from terrorism to the cola wars). He has consistently found incisive metaphors for contemporary society and presented them in complex and rich installations, videos, photographs, paintings and sculpture. This year he was honoured with a Brant Foundation show Occupy Greenwich, which provided a timely reflection on politics in America. In 2009 Horowitz also had an important solo show at MOMA PS1, which cemented him as an important voice in socially engaged and critical art.

Horowitz’s use of the portrait is particularly interesting. ‘Portrait’ is perhaps a misnomer, however, because of its emphasis on the art genre. Horowitz plays in an almost anthropological way with visual culture and has astutely seen that the celebrity portraits, sculptures, portraits hanging on the wall in town halls are less artworks and actually what they were traditionally called – effigies. There is a ‘image magic’ in a portrait hanging in the public hall. Portraits speak to us from the past, they give us advice, they exhort us to action; they are not merely images on the wall.

When Horowitz placed portraits of the 9/11 terrorists surreptitiously around the galleries of the Whitney Biennale they were not merely images but also almost like voodoo dolls, secreting some traumatic power. When he placed portraits of all the presidents in the Brant Foundation he activated the power of the Presidential office, creating a secular Versailles as a stage for his political interventions. In the major work Hillary Clinton is a Person Too, we see another effigy. Larger than life, in bronze, Clinton is at once infantilised and at the same time given the authority of a queen.

Horowitz is aware that the context of this work’s origins has now shifted, but in interesting ways. Like any bronze public sculpture, our context can shift the way we see the sacred figure represented. In the context of the 2016 presidential election the failure present in this piece is more palpable. In 2008 the piece may have seemed like a consolation prize (for her loss to Barack Obama) but in 2016 it seems to highlight her Achilles heel: a proportion of the electorate saw her as an over-eager, overqualified, and entitled class captain.

The main body of work in this exhibition is Self Portrait in the Mirror. This series is based on repainting Lichtenstein’s mirror works, and they are a joke on a joke. Lichtenstein was already riffing on Abstract Expressionism’s obsession with painterly surface. He painted an image of a mirror as if it was printed as a cheap cartoon. Using stencils and careful masking Lichtenstein replicated the quality of a cheap, benday dot print. While in a Lichtenstein the painterly quality is still present, the work eschews the great gesture of the genius artist.

horowitz18079Jonathan Horowitz, Self Portrait in Mirror #12 (2013), acrylic on linen, 61cm diameter, $POA

Horowitz to some extent reinstates the authorly hand. He paints and has others repaint the Lichtenstein, without any aids, and in doing so ‘dials up’ the painterly mistakes. The benday dots are now not perfect, the lines a little shaky. Shown in series the singularity of each rendition is even more palpable, as the series allows the viewer to immediately contrast the copy with another copy set beside it.

The paintings are not really images of mirrors. They embody a struggle in contemporary life: to insist on our individuality while at the same time following an imperative to conform to social values. This series is a perfect metonym for Horowitz’s practice as a whole, in that he re-presents the real, but in a way that highlights the invisible workings of power, ideology and societal belief, often with wit and slight of hand.

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This December, international, post-conceptual artists Rob Pruitt and Jonathan Horowitz will be showing at OLSEN.

Both based in New York City, this exhibition will be the first time both artist have featured in an Australian gallery.


Rob Pruitt is a major figure in the contemporary art scene in New York. He works in a broad spectrum of media, from sculpture, installation and print to painting and conceptual forays. Over the last twenty years his work has, by critical consensus, reached a new level of maturity and importance. His recent show at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise (New York), which included the series Suicide Paintings, was considered by Roberta Smith, the art critic for the New York Times, as “possibly the best of his career.”

The work in this exhibition particularly focuses on his painting practice through two major series: his signature Panda series (started in 2001) and the more recent Suicide Paintings. Because contemporary artists like Pruitt can choose to represent ideas in whichever way they choose, there is a conscious choice here to utilise painting as the frame. Because of this, Pruitt’s work has been characterised as post-conceptual painting, in that it is a form of painting that comes after the ‘anything goes’ of contemporary art. Post-conceptual painting holds in it the history and traditions of painting as well as the wit and ideas of conceptual art, minimalism and other approaches of late modernism.

pruitt18109Rob Pruitt, Suicide XCIII, acrylic on linen, 206 x 274cm, $POA

His signature series Panda clearly references Warhol’s serial approach to images. The longer Pruitt pursues this project the more thorough the conceptual serialism becomes. Warhol’s schtick was that everything was merely surface, and that paintings meant almost nothing; he used to insist that he had others at The Factory choose the subject matter and images for him. But critics have subsequently pointed to the more serious subject matter (riots, electric chairs, The Last Supper etc) to suggest that his work did mean something and was a critique of society at the time. In the end it is up to the viewer to decide whether his images are in earnest or ironic pastiche.

Pruitt’s Pandas seem to function in the same way, between kitsch and the serious politics of the Anthropocene. In interviews the artist has asserted the panda was his childhood favourite, a personal totem. The panda is cuddly, kind and bumbling, a friendly giant, that sits cross legged, like a scholar hermit, in bamboo groves. It is present in visual culture from Harajuku girl hair ties to the iconic logo of the World Wildlife fund. Pruitt has said that the panda is a reminder of what we are doing to our planet and how we threaten other life forms with our rapacious appetites for space and resources. The paintings sit provocatively somewhere in between direct political activism and the cute.

This equivocation drives the concept behind the Suicide Paintings, a very morbid title for such beauteous paintings. If there is a sense of finality in these works they are also completely hopeful, uplifting and intimate. They feel as if Kazimir Malevich had been asked to create a screen saver or Joseph Albers had been commissioned by Pantone, and yet lose none of painting’s ability to point towards the sublime. The colour is intense and overwhelming, and the series is frequently compared to Rothko’s religiosity or even Renaissance skies. And yet the works remain situated in the present, and the hand-painted gradient, the old form of paint on canvas, beautifully mediates our dehumanising digital age with our insistence on life’s meaning.

The use of painting, to these conceptual ends, recovers for the dry conceptual art of the seventies the power and constancy of beauty. In both these series beauty and aesthetic pleasure are a provocation to the materialists, that prefer dirty realness. Both series point towards possibilities of transcendence.


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New to OLSEN, Antony Gormley’s Settlement I from 2005 is now on show in the gallery space. Consisting of a series of bright mild steel blocks, the sculpture weighs 400kilos and stands 12.5 x 12.5 x 25mm, 25 x 25 x 50mm, 50 x 50 x 100mm & 100 x 100 x 200mm, 24 x 660 x 208.5cm (9.5 x 23.6 x 82.1in). Price on application.


From Antony Gormley’s website:

Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. His work has developed the potential opened up by sculpture since the 1960s through a critical engagement with both his own body and those of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human beings stand in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise.

Gormley’s work has been widely exhibited throughout the UK and internationally with exhibitions at Forte di Belvedere, Florence (2015); Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (2014); Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia (2012); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2012); The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2011); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2010); Hayward Gallery, London (2007); Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (1993) and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (1989). He has also participated in major group shows such as the Venice Biennale (1982 and 1986) and Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany (1987). Permanent public works include the ANGEL OF THE NORTH (Gateshead, England), ANOTHER PLACE (Crosby Beach, England), INSIDE AUSTRALIA (Lake Ballard, Western Australia) and EXPOSURE (Lelystad, The Netherlands) and CHORD (MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA). 

Gormley was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994, the South Bank Prize for Visual Art in 1999, the Bernhard Heiliger Award for Sculpture in 2007, the Obayashi Prize in 2012 and the Praemium Imperiale in 2013. In 1997 he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) and was made a knight in the New Year’s Honours list in 2014. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, an Honorary Doctor of the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity and Jesus Colleges, Cambridge. Gormley has been a Royal Academician since 2003.

Antony Gormley was born in London in 1950.   



Things already exist
Sculpture already exists

The job is to transform what exists in the outer world
by uniting it with the world of
sensation, imagination and faith.

Action can be confused with life.
Much of human life is hidden.
Sculpture, in stillness, can transmit what may not be seen.

My work is to make bodies into vessels
that both contain and occupy space.

Space exists outside the door and inside the head.

My work is to make human space in space.

Each work is a place between form and formlessness,
a time between origin and becoming.

A house is the form of vulnerability,
darkness is revealed by light.

My work is to make a place, free from knowledge,
free from history, free from nationality to be experienced freely.

In art there is no progress, only art.
Art is always for the future.

(Published in Antony Gormley: Five Works, Serpentine Gallery, London: Arts Council of Great Britain, London, 1987)

View the work online here

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‘The Art of Dinosaur Designs’- an evening with gallery director Tim Olsen’s sister, Louise Olsen and gallery artist Stephen Ormandy.


Thursday 17 November at Buzo modern European, 3 Jersey Road, Woollahra.


Tickets available here

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Olsen artist Paul Davies speaks to Monster Children Magazine this month about his processes, inspiration, and imagination.

Interview by Erin Bromhead.


Portrait by Hareth Tayem / All artwork by Paul Davies

If patience is a virtue, then Paul Davies is a saint.

The Australian born, Los Angeles based artist spends more time contemplating and creating his work than most of us spend living at one address. His paintings first exist as photographs, which he leaves hanging in his studio for up to six months before deeming them worthy for use, only to then become intricate stencils, painstakingly cut by hand. The end result is art you wish you could physically visit—houses whose front doors you want to open, yards you yearn to BBQ in, pools you pine to dive under… you get the gist.

The driving force behind every piece of Paul’s work is memory, and how it compares to the reality of something. Whilst such a comparison seems more like a duel between mind vs. actuality, his works show no sign of struggle. In fact, they seem to bring about a sense of peace. On the heels of opening his latest exhibition, ‘Life Stills’ at Melbourne’s Sophie Gannon Gallery, we talked with him about process, his favourite memories, and operating a scalpel blade with a hangover.


Your paintings start as photographs, which are then made into stencils. Can you explain your process?

Sure. So, the overarching theme of my work is memory. I am comparing what the camera records with what you remember of something happening. So I go out and take photographs of different places—places that I research and want to photograph or places I just stumble upon and find interesting, and then I print a bunch out and put them on the studio wall, and if I still like them in six months or so, I start to use them. What I do from there is I enlarge them so they are the size of a poster, and then I cut a stencil, or a screen, out of the photograph so it’s cutting away all the shadows or all the negative space using a scalpel blade, and that’s the part that takes really long, because it’s all hand done. So it’s using my memory of the photograph and then I’m cutting back into my own memory and filling it with paint.

Is 6 months a concrete amount of time before you will work with the photo?

No, it’s just usually enough time to let it settle. It’s kind of arbitrary but it usually ends up being around that amount of time because you’ve had it up on the studio wall and if it’s still talking to you and you still think it’s interesting then it’s a good sign that it’s worth turning into a painting.


Your colour palettes are always interesting—how do you end up with such different colours in a piece when you can see the real ones in the photo?

 I think that it’s all intuitive. So, I try to make the colours as incorrect to nature as possible, like blocking out the sky so that it’s green and then the pool will be pink or something like that, which doesn’t make sense but because its based on a photograph it’s still rational image, like the content makes sense but it’s more of an emotional, intuitive thing. And that’s really just trial and error, I don’t set out saying it’s going to be this or that colour. Because they’re painted in layers, quite often I’ll go through five or six colour combinations before I get to the image. And if you look closely in the work, you can see the previous layers that have been built up through that process.

Obviously your move to Los Angeles has heavily influenced your work—what is it about the city’s aesthetic that inspires you so much?

 I like that it keeps tripping you up—you think that you understand part of it but then it just throws something else at you. I also like that it’s linear and sprawling, rather than vertical. The kind of idea that there are corners, and every time you turn a corner you see something new, and so that, for me, and I think a lot of creative people, is interesting because it presents different challenges.


Have you ever painted your own house?

My mum lived in this house in Lismore for a little while and I painted it, but like all of the pictures that I do, it was a combination of elements—so I took a picture of her house and then I pimped it, basically. I added a pool, and put palm trees in it and mountains behind it.

Have you ever exhibited any of the photos that you take?

Not as photos themselves, but I have exhibited some of the cut out photos that I’ve used as the stencils for the paintings. So, I will hang the stencils up and they’ve got all these layers of paint on them because they’ve been used in different paintings, and that’s been a good way to show the process of the work, and also that it’s a photograph but then when you cut away all the negative space it stops being a two-dimensional thing and it becomes a sculpture. I actually studied sculpture at school because I failed painting.


If your work is all about memory, what is one of your favourite memories from the last year?

 My residency in Phoenix at Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. That was for the whole month of February, and was where I did those photograms using the sunlight. It was amazing because they put you up for the month, and they award six a year so I was really lucky to be awarded one. It’s so hot up there—even though it was coming out of winter—and it hardly rains, and it reminded me of Australia as well. So I used that idea of being away from home and then being in a new place both having this really strong sunlight and I used that as the main point for those works where they were using sunlight instead of paint but still the stencil to make these works and I did one a day while I was there.



Davies’ photograms created during his residency, made by exposing sunlight through a stencil onto paper painted with light sensitive liquid.

What time of day has the best light?

If I had to chose just one time of day, there’s a weird time when you’re down near the coast and you’re driving along—it might sound cliché, but along the PCH—sometimes there’s a haze there and they call it a marine layer, but it’s basically just fog and mist. But it sits there and then burns off during the day, but if it’s sunny and that mist is still there, it creates this really weird kind of filter over everything. If you’re down on the coast in the morning when it happens, that’s pretty cool.

The stencils you cut are really intricate; you must have such a steady hand. Have you ever tried to work hung over?

Ha! I try to avoid it. It just takes so long, and you need to get in the zone to do it, ’cause it doesn’t give back anything immediately, and that’s kind of one thing I like about it, that you start it and you just have to settle in and take your time, there’s no instant gratification.


Paul’s ‘Life Stills’ exhibition is open now until 12 November, 2016 at Sophie Gannon Gallery.

See the original article at Monster Children Magazine

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