Prue Venables – Top of Glenn Barkley's stockroom picks

Former Head Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Glenn Barkley was asked in an interview for Raven to share his top collecting picks.

Out of the eight eclectic artworks selected by Barkley, Olsen Irwin’s ceramic artist, Prue Venables work Black Group was listed as his top collectors pick.

Prue Venables works within the ceramics studio tradition and these works exemplify that. They are for contemplation, not use, but you could use them if you wanted to and that tension makes them great.’

Prue is an elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. Her fine porcelain objects have been collected by many National and International private and institutional collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum Auckland, National Gallery of Victoria and  Powerhouse Museum.

Black Group is available for sale at the Olsen Irwin main gallery located at 63 Jersey Road, Woollahra 2025.

12.5 x 19 cm & 19 x 12 x 8 cm






Ann Thomson | Freehand exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery

A survey of recent paintings by Ann Thomson is currently on show at the Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra. ‘Freehand – Recent works by Ann Thomson’ exhibits paintings, mixed media collages and works on paper from the past seven years.

DSC_0430 (2)

Ann in her studio in Reims, France where she spent three months of 2014 on an artist’s residency

For an artist in her 80s, Ann’s work is remarkably youthful displaying a remarkable lightness of touch and gestural freedom. Her works have always been very generous, exuberance being as much an identifiable characteristic of the artist herself as much as it is of her paintings.

Indeed in his speech to open the exhibition, author David Malouf was quick to express his awe at the energy in each work, a testament to the energy of Ann and the vitality imparted upon each painting during the act of creation. And while her brush is loaded with an unbounded energy, her often overlooked collages embody a wondrous fascination with the world’s systems and the way they work, at once existing as reflections of the place in which Ann lives as well as evidence of a spirited inner logic.

Freehand (detail), 2014, acrylic on linen, 93 x 93cm

“Ann Thomson’s pictorial conceptions are characterised by their great vivacity. She has a remarkable feeling for pulse and rhythm, for dynamic energy unleashed into space.” – Freehand, recent works by Ann Thomson

As Terrence Maloon wrote in his foreword to the exhibition: ‘in 2008 one began to notice signs of change in her art – changes that could not be ascribed to the attrition of age. On the contrary: her paintings and drawings were growing conspicuously stronger, wilder and freer. To all intents and purposes, they had begun to grow younger.”

To coincide with this important exhibition, Olsen Irwin is exhibiting a small collection of works on paper at the works on paper gallery. These gouaches were all created last year, 2014 while Ann was on an artist’s residency in Reims, France. Their shifting forms are suggestive of aquatic bodies, something that Ann attributes to her morning swims.

Ann Thomson
Freehand – Recent works by Ann Thomson
19 February – 5 April 2015
Drill Hall Gallery, Kingsley St Acton, 2601. ACT

Ann Thomson
Opening 28 February 2-4pm
Exhibition 25 February – 14 March 2015
Olsen Irwin works on paper, small paintings and sculpture
40 Queen St, Woollahra NSW


Sophie Cape | Artist Profile

Ahead of her exhibition at Olsen Irwin,  Sophie Cape has been featured on the cover of the latest Artist Profile. An in depth interview by Owen Craven, and with photography by Daniel Shipp, ‘Getting the art fix’ reveals Sophie’s art practice as something of extreme personal importance.

Sophie became a full time artist after having to retire as a professional athlete. She quickly found art to be the perfect replacement for the rush of cycling and downhill skiing, becoming acutely interested in the art making process despite it’s obvious differences to extreme sport.

“I was getting the same adrenaline rush from art that I got as an athlete. I became addicted to that through the art process, even though it was a completely different beast altogether.” – Sophie Cape in Artist Profile.

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 5.14.04 PM


Dusty Figment, 2015, oil, acrylic, ink, charcoal, carborumdum, graphite, bitumen, soil, bone on canvas, 150 x 200cm

Far from being just a substitute, making art would also prove to be a significant outlet of expression and an avenue for Sophie to exercise her love for being in the outdoors. Her practice is still intensely physical, with the artist talking about the way she uses her own body as a tool within the canvas. Her love of tactility, line and the mark-making act reveal her process to be closely linked with the limits of herself.

Because of the mental and physical energy expended in creating an artwork, for Sophie each one is imbued with its own story and a memory of the place it was made in, and of how the artist was thinking and feeling at the time. Indeed such is the intensity of the creation process that Sophie cannot work with others watching.

In the act of making an artwork, all these personal thoughts and emotions are tied together to a particular location and the opportunity for chance to occur in that place. Whether it be through the materials she uses, the way these are applied or changing weather conditions, spontaneity is also an important part of Sophie’s practice.

Perhaps its the way in which making art allows Sophie to combine all these things together, bringing them hurtling down towards an end point on canvas, that makes it an addictive experience and something that Sophie is highly successful at.

Sophie Cape: In the heart of the mountain where no words are spoken
Opening Saturday 21 February 2 – 4pm
Exhibition 18 Feb – 8March
63 Jersey Rd, Woollahra

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 5.14.18 PM

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 5.14.29 PM


Posted in Artists, Sophie Cape, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


Jonathan Delafield Cook | Ten Cubed Exhibition Extended

Such is the popularity of the work of Jonathan Delafield Cook that his exhibition at Ten Cubed gallery in Melbourne has been extended until the 12th of March.

The precision of his drawings are a result of his background in architecture, an area in which he studied and worked in before becoming an artist. In the artist’s words his objective is ‘to elevate the drawing, which has traditionally been seen as the preparatory study to the primary master work.’ Testaments to his skills in observation and discipline, these works are best viewed up close and in person so as to best appreciate the talent and effort involved in their creation.

After several years living in England, Jonathan has recently returned to Australia for 2015. Ten Cubed will be holding drinks at the gallery on Tuesday the 17th of February in order to celebrate both his arrival and this remarkable exhibition.

Jonathan Delafield Cook
24 September 2014 – 12 March 2015
Drinks February 17, 6:30 – 8pm
Ten Cubed
1489 Malvern Road, Glen Iris, 3146, VIC

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-30

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-29

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-28

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-9

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-7

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-6

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-5

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-4

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-2

Ten Cubed Collection_Jonathan Delafield Cook-1

Posted in Art Shows, Jonathan Delafield Cook, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


Tamara Dean | Here and Now, Sydney Morning Herald

Tamara Dean’s latest exhibition has been featured in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald. Here and Now is an immersive installation piece bringing together sight, touch, sound and scent in order to immerse viewers in nature.

The installation itself is a single dark room with three walls lined with mirrors and the fourth bearing an enormous photograph of nude figures in nature. The floor is flooded with water, with only a few stepping stones providing a place to stand. The space is also permeated by the sound of insects and an organic, muddy smell ‘like water on rocks.’

“(Here and Now) is a reminder about the value of nature in our lives and also that we are intrinsically linked to nature.” – Tamara Dean in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The true nature of the artwork was kept a secret by Dean right up until it’s opening, the only clue being that it would be ‘an immersive experience.’ The work also signals a new direction for Dean’s practice. With her origins in photography, the artist took the opportunity to paint late last year with her finalist entry in the Portia Geach Memorial award. Though after this piece, the possibilities for Tamara’s art are endless.
Tamara Dean is currently the artist in residence at The University of NSW

To read the article in the Sydney Morning Herald, click here

Watch an interview with Tamara Dean about Here and Now below.

Tamara Dean, Here and Now
Studio 1, UNSW, Kensington, entry via gate 2 off High st.
Thursday February 5, 6 – 8pm
Saturday February 7, 2 – 5pm


Tamara Dean | Here and Now

Tamara Dean has an exhibition of new works set to open on the 4th of February. The artist is giving little away about the show ‘Here and Now,’ describing it only as an ‘immersive,’ ‘sensory experience’ and as ‘a new direction.’ Indeed, even the location of the exhibition is being withheld until 24 hours before the opening. As much mystery, excitement and intrigue as there is surrounding the show, this exhibition promises to be thoroughly interesting and engaging.

After a successful year in 2014 which included the artist’s inclusion as a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize, the Bowness Prize and the Portia Geach Memorial Award, Tamara’s new works are highly anticipated.

Those wanting to attend the opening can register by sending an email to inthehereandnow2015@gmail.com
Numbers are limited so if you would like to be a part of this experience it is best to email soon.

Tamara Dean
‘Here and Now’

Opening night
Wednesday February 4
6 – 8pm

Public viewing
Thursday February 5, 6 – 8pm
Saturday February 7, 2 – 5pm


here and now

Posted in Tamara Dean, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Ann Thomson | studio visit

We recently visited the studio of Ann Thomson to look at some new works. Ann spent three months of last year living and working in Reims, France. The gouache on paper and acrylic on linen works she made there were a highlight of the visit. Ann has also been organising paintings in her studio for a show in Canberra at the Drill Hall. ‘Freehand – Ann Thomson’ will open on the 20th of February, and it was a lovely opportunity to see some of the pieces that will be in the show.

Born in Brisbane in 1933, Ann Thomson has been exhibiting since 1965. Thomson moved to Sydney to study at the National Art School after initially learning from Australian expressionist Jon Molvig. Ann has had a long relationship with France. in 1978 she was awarded a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. She would be awarded this residency again in 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2006. Ann lives and works in Sydney.






Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Posted in Ann Thomson, Artists, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


Peter Vandermark | Acquisition, National Gallery of Australia

One work by artist Peter Vandermark has recently been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia. The sculptural work titled ‘Conductor,’ was part of a solo exhibition of Peter’s work earlier this year ‘Modulations,’ at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

‘Conductor’ is the second piece of Peter’s work acquired by the Gallery with his ‘wall of sound’ sculptural structure purchased in 2010.

Born in Melbourne in 1960 and completing his Bachlor of visual arts in Canberra, Peter Vandermark creates sculptures that explore the area between sculpture and design, art history and contemporary living. His work is represented in public Australian and international collections and private collection.


Conductor, 2014, galvanised metal, ducting elbows and acrylic spheres, 268 x 55 x 80cm

wall of sound

Wall of sound, 2009, powder-coated manufactured aluminium letters, 74 x 75 x 10cm


Jo Bertini | Paintings of the Desert – Sydney Morning Herald

An article about Jo Bertini’s love affair with the desert is in the Sydney Morning Herald. Jo Bertini has been going on expeditions into rural areas of Australia for the last decade, recording the existence of some truly unique and isolated places with pen and pencil.

“In the desert, Bertini works oblivious to sunburn and exhaustion. Walking beside the camels, she is rarely without sketchbook and pencils. When a scene strikes her, she flops down on a sandhill to make rapid pencil marks on the page; ragged horizon, undulations, a spindly tree here, spinifex there, before shading to capture the contrast between light and dark.” – Sydney Morning Herald

Not only does the article convey Bertini’s enthusiasm to create art, it also communicates her enthusiasm for the desert itself.

“For an artist [the desert] is like the pot of gold,” Bertini says. “There is a sense of time, there is this sense of the enormity of space, you have a real understanding of Australia’s vastness as a continent, which you can’t comprehend when you are on the periphery, on the coast.” – Sydney Morning Herald.

For Bertini the desert is the place where she feels most at home, where she feels most at peace. It is only natural then that her art is centered around experiences in the Australian wilderness, her passion for both art and the landscape driving each other.

An exhibition of Jo’s latest works is currently on at Olsen Irwin until January.

You can read the entire article here

Jo Bertini ‘Terra Incognita”
10 December 2014 – January 2015
Olsen Irwin
63 Jersey Road, Woollahra


Explorer’s Sketchbook, 2014, Ink and Graphite on Paper, 42 x 51cm


Red River Country, 2014, oil on canvas, 138 x 168cm


Jo Bertini | Country Style

Ahead of her new exhibition ‘Terra Incognita” at Olsen Irwin, it is useful to look at the artist’s studio where many of the works in the show came into being. Country Style magazine featured the artist’s gorgeous home and studio in August, and in fact many of the paintings pictured in the article have made it onto the walls of the gallery space for the exhibition. Written and styled by Karen Cotton and with photographs by Simon Kenny, the article gives a great introduction to Bertini’s Southern Tablelands home and workspace.

“Wallaburra was 16 hectares on a creek with all of the original buildings from its days as a 1200-hectare sheepstation,” she says. “But the big drawcard was the shearing shed, which I could picture as my studio. Even though the house was derelict, and occupied by roos and wombats, it had so much potential I bought it immediately.” – Jo Bertini, Country Style

“Terra Incognita” will run until December the 21st, 2014.

Jo Bertini “Terra Incognita”
10 – 21 December 2014
Opening Saturday 13 December 2-4pm
Olsen Irwin Gallery 63 Jersey Road, Woollahra

Screen shot 2014-12-12 at 2.27.59 PM

Screen shot 2014-12-12 at 2.27.37 PM


Posted in Artists, Jo Bertini, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment