Peter Vandermark – Finalist in this Year’s Guirguis New Art Prize

OLSEN Gallery is delighted to announce Peter Vandermark’s selection into this year’s Guirguis New Art Prize.

GNAP is a national, biennial, contemporary art exhibition sponsored by local surgeon and philanthropist, Mr Mark Guirguis. Administered by the Federation University Australia, GNAP17 was presented at FedUni’s Post Office Gallery in association with the Art Gallery of Ballarat and is on exhibition until 14 May, 2017.

Of the nominated artists, Peter Vandermark made it through to the final 14. Congratulations Peter!

For more information on the Guirguis New Art Prize, please click here.

Predestination (black & white), 2016, plywood, acrylic mirrors, acrylic paint, 176.5 x 140.5cm



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Paul Davies announces site-specific installation at Fitzpatrick-Leland House, Los Angeles | In collaboration with This X That

Olsen Gallery is proud to announce Paul Davies’ upcoming collaboration with The MAK Centre for Art and Architecture and THIS X THAT for a site-specific installation, comprising of new and recently completed paintings, bronze sculptures and photograms at the Fitzpatrick-leland House in Los Angeles.

On view by appointment from June 7-25, 2017, the installation features recently completed paintings, bronze sculptures, and photograms that activate the Rudolph Schindler-designed Fitzpatrick-Leland House in the Hollywood Hills. A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the MAK Centre towards the restoration of the historic home. 

Fitzpatrick-Leland House (1936) Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles 90046

Visit the MAK Center for Art and Architecture website here.

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OLSEN gallery would like to congratulate artist Stephen Bird whose painting Man by a Fire has been selected as a finalist of the Calleen Art Prize at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery.

The Calleen Art Award is an acquisitive national painting prize in any subject and style. 2017 marks the 40 year anniversary for the Calleen Art Award and during the past ten years it has developed a unique reputation as a major art prize in regional New South Wales. Fellow OLSEN Gallery artist Peter Gardiner won the prize in 2011 for his painting Landscape 2010 No. VIII (2010).

Stephen Bird, Man by a fire, oil on wood, 80 x 60cm, 2017

Read more about the Calleen Art Award here.

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Stephen Bird at the 9th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale in Korea

Stephen Bird will be exhibiting and speaking at this month’s 9th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale in Korea.

Dates: 22 April – 28 May, 2017

Venue: Icheon Cerapia, Gwangju Gonjiam Ceramic Park, Yeoju Dojasesang, KOREA

Stephen Bird, Delilah and Samson, 60 x 28 x 28cm, 2016

Stephen Bird, Saturn Eating a Man’s Leg, 67  x 35 x 28cm, 2015

Stephen Bird, Head plate with gold finches, 2017

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Louise Olsen & Stephen Ormandy: The Art of Dinosaur Designs

OLSEN Gallery is delighted to announce the opening of Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen’s major survey exhibition The Art of Dinosaur Designs at the Hazlehurst Regional Gallery.

The exhibition is a colourful fusion of art, design and fashion, referencing Olsen and Ormandy’s iconic design label Dinosaur Designs and explores the artful and aesthetic prevalent throughout their work. The exhibition features a series of more than 40 large-scale sculptural forms that celebrate the pair’s thirty year creative partnership.

Gathering highlights of Olsen and Ormandy’s creative career, Louise Olsen & Stephen Ormandy: The Art of Dinosaur Designs features works such as Series 8: Movement (2011), a set of eight disks in dazzling colours commissioned to mark the fifth anniversary of Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA).  More recent commissions include Loop (2014), a wall-hung sculpture evocative of  “the rhythmic lines created when you drop a rock in a lake” as Olsen describes it. Its soft colour transitions are a constant to Collar Bone (2014) which is characterised by chroma clashes from orange to blue rendered in a painterly application.

The Art of Dinosaur Designs | Louise Olsen & Stephen Ormandy
1 April – 14 May 2017

For more information on the exhibition, please visit http://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Community/Hazelhurst

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John Olsen’s The You Beaut Country at the Art Gallery of NSW

OLSEN is proud to announce the opening of John Olsen’s The You Beaut Country at the Art Gallery of NSW. This exhibition surveys John Olsen’s remarkable seven-decade career, including paintings, ceramics, tapestries and works on paper from collections across Australia.

It features some of his most iconic and arresting works, including large-scale paintings of Sydney Harbour and Lake Eyre and his career-defining landscape series The You Beaut Country.

Olsen is renowned for his energetic painting style and his lyrical depictions of the Australian landscape and its life-forms. The exhibition traces the development of his spectacular and idiosyncratic vision, highlighting his lifelong interest in the natural world and his continued pursuit to capture the Australian identity.

The You Beaut Country is on view until 12 June 2017. All tickets can be purchased through the AGNSW website here.

John Olsen Sydney Sun (or King Sun) 1965 oil on composition board, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased with funds from the Nerissa Johnson Bequest 2000 © John Olsen

Copies of John Olsen: The You Beaut Country Catalogue – National Gallery of Victoria and John Olsen A Recipe for Art can be purchased through the OLSEN website, here.



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Interview with Julian Meagher

 Julian Meagher discusses his exhibition ‘There is Hope to the Last Flower‘  at Olsen Gallery with Varia Koripoff in the current issue of Art Guide.

Julian Meagher, There is Light Somewhere, 152 x 246 cm. Oil on linen. 2016.

Article by Varia Karipoff,

His story has been told numerous times across media – often with just a lingering hint of incredulity. Julian Meagher completed a medical degree before embarking on a career as a painter. Though in truth his interest in art never waned, somehow finding time to undertake a classical education in portrait painting at Charles H Cecil Studios in Florence, midway through his medical studies.

Over the course of 15 years Meagher has notched up an Archibald moment (he was a finalist in 2014 and 2015), won a slew of grants and prizes, and exhibited in places as far afield as India, Singapore and LA.

In his painting, Meagher is conscious of the disconcertedness and darkness beneath our ‘radiant Southern Cross.’


Working in thinned down oils he captures the pellucid blue light and reflective surfaces of his childhood upbringing on Sydney Harbour’s foreshore – albeit in unexpected objects. The metallic tones of a bloated cask wine bladder, or a family of empty alcohol bottles knocked over like skittles and adorned with native flora are just two examples of his uniquely Australian work.

In the resulting still life, national perceptions of masculinity and addiction, and even the violence that precipitated lockout laws are cast back at the viewer from the painted surface. In his latest exhibition, a gentler, more optimistic tone comes to the fore.

Varia Karipoff—Your inroad into the art world was somewhat unorthodox – how did it unfold?

Julian Meagher—I have always loved painting and been surrounded by it since I was a kid, spending a lot of my teenage years taking extra art courses and also studying for a year over in Italy at an art school. I then completed a medical degree at university in my early twenties before deciding to pursue art professionally.

VK—What compelled you to change direction after completing your studies in medicine?

JM—I finally grew some balls. I am kind of happy though that I was more mature and experienced when I started out. Without discipline and drive it’s very hard to work through the highs and lows of making paintings.

VK—Can you describe how you work?

JM—I think my main influence actually came from family. My mum is a painter and was always taking us to galleries, and my uncle was a die hard collector. I did spend a lot of time by the water growing up, and began to realise even then that each area in Sydney has quite a dark and often unrecognised past underneath its immediate aesthetic beauty. I guess I am still working out my place in this city and its history.

'Study for There is Light Somewhere' 117 x 96 cm. Oil on linen. 2016
Julian Meagher, Study for There is Light Somewhere, 117 x 96 cm. Oil on linen. 2016


VK—Previously your paintings chronicled eastern tattoos and exotic birds, why has your lens turned inwards to Australian culture?

JM—To be honest it is the narrative of paint and space itself that is the overriding joy I get from making work, regardless of subject matter. However, I do think Australian culture is becoming more important to me as I grow up and want the country to grow in the right direction as well.

VK—Tell me about your upcoming show at Olsen Gallery – what can we expect to see?

JM—The title of this show [There is Hope to the Last Flower] is a quote from an apiarist discussing the plight of bees. Faced with so many sad and distressing events in our world, and my own sense of hopelessness at times, I wanted to paint a show about optimism. This show includes portraits and still lifes touching on many disparate subjects – ranging from friends’ addictions, the recent lockout laws, Australia’s identity, our environment, love and my recent marriage. When I look at things I see so many reflections.

VK—The works from the Olsen show are very patient studies in light, transparency and reflection – we can definitely see the optimism coming through.

JM—I hope so. The economist Paul Romer recently described optimism as both conditional and complacent. The feeling a child experiences while waiting for a present is complacent or passive optimism. Whereas conditional optimism is when a child that wants a tree house realises, that if he gets the materials and friends to help him – he can then build it himself. I think I am trying to engage in conditional optimism whenever I can in many aspects of both life and studio practice. Painting in its pure form is a great example of this. As painters we can decide where to shine the light.

VK—In your paintings of goon bags the line between humour, beauty, critique and celebration is blurred – why did you choose this derided object as a focus?

JM—They are great objects to paint, so damn solid but at times also threatening to float away. It is hard to beat translating such a symbolic object into a thing of beauty.

VK—Often objects or figures are grouped in your work in a way which suggests a landscape, although your paintings are practically always interior, or at least devoid of background detail. Are you conscious of a tension between still life and landscape in your work?

JM—I guess I do see each work as a kind of constructed landscape. I am actually about to undertake a residency with Bega Valley Regional Gallery in which I am looking forward to painting a landscape series. It will be interesting to see what comes out of that.

VK—Coming from a studio-based practice, how do you think you will approach landscape painting?

JM—To be honest I have no idea. Most of my recent landscapes have ended up in the bin. I am actually hoping that the environment there will help me push through these failures into something special.

VK—What else are you looking forward to this year?

JM—Becoming a father.

VK—What is something that you have seen or read recently that has had an impact on your practice in some way?

JM—Sapiens by Yuval Harari is a book that I think should be essential reading for everyone, it is one of the best entry points into the history and mechanics of humanity. Also, the David Hockney exhibition at the NGV just blew me away, his passion for mark making, perspective and his willingness to experiment are elements I have tried to bring more to my own practice.

There is Hope to the Last Flower
Julian Meagher
Olsen Gallery
22 February – 12 March

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OLSEN artist Marisa Purcell is holding a masterclass at St George School of Fine Arts in collaboration with The Community Education and Arts Development Centre (CEAD). ‘CEAD is an initiative of TAFE NSW Sydney, working with community, industry and government partners.’

‘Gain insight into some of the working methods and techniques used by award-winning artists, explore the ‘language’ of painting, discover traditional techniques and use them in contemporary painting practice or learn fundamentals felt form techniques to create soft sculptures.’

Marisa Purcell
The Art of Indeterminacy. After John Cage
23 and 24 March 10am-4.30pm

For more information please visit the website here

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OLSEN Gallery is proud to support Laura Jones who is donating a work to the Public Interest Advocacy Center’s Social Justice dinner for 2017.

Laura Jones, Sunflowers, oil on linen, 71 x 76cm

To bid on this work, please follow the link here. A chance to support a worthy cause and snap up the beautiful Laura Jones piece above.

For more information, please visit their website here or see below to purchase tickets.

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Ep #15 Alan Jones

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