Ann Thomson | Reims Residency

Ann Thomson has just returned from three months working in the city of Reims, France. Immersing herself in the French culture and way of life, Thomson worked everyday in her studio producing inspired gouache on paper and acrylic on linen works. Thomson’s works will be exhibited at the soon to be complete Jacquart Museum in Reims.

Born in Brisbane in 1933, Ann Thomson has been exhibiting since 1965. After studying under the renownded Australian expressionist, Jon Molvig, Thomson moved to Sydney to study at the National Art School, then called the East Sydney Technical College. In 1978 Thomson was awarded a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. Thomson has subsequently been an artist in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris in 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003 and 2006. In 1998 Thomson won the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Wynne Prize. In 2002 she was awarded the Geelong Contemporary Art Prize, and in 2005 was the Kedumba Drawing Award. Thomson lives and works in Sydney.
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Noah Taylor | New Works | Exhibition Opening

Claudia Karvan kindly opened Noah Taylor’s exhibition ‘New Works‘ at Olsen Irwin Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture on Saturday 7 June 2014. Due to Taylor’s acting commitments in the UK, he was unfortunately unable to attend the opening of the exhibition, instead asking childhood friend Karvan to step in. It was Karvan who initially introduced Taylor’s work to Olsen Irwin director, Tim Olsen, making her the obvious choice to open the exhibition. Watch Karvan’s speech and scenes from the opening in the video above.

Noah Taylor
New Works
4 – 21 June 2014

Olsen Irwin
Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture
40 Queen Street
Woollahra NSW 2025


Noah Taylor | Weekend Arts | ABC Radio National

Noah Taylor will discuss his current exhibition of new works with ABC Radio National’s Melanie Tait on Saturday’s Weekend Arts programme. Tune into ABC Radio National this Saturday 14 June from 2-3pm.

ABC Radio National
Weekend Arts with Melanie Tait
Saturday 14 June 2014, 2-3pm

Noah Taylor
New Works
4 – 21 June 2014

Olsen Irwin
Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture
40 Queen Street
Woollahra 2025 NSW


Noah Taylor | New Works | Olsen Irwin

SONY DSCAfter a breakthrough role in the Australian coming of age film The Year My Voice Broke in 1987, Noah Taylor has gone on to become one of Australia’s biggest acting exports with lead roles in Shine, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Red Dog and the cult HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Despite his undeniable on-screen success, Taylor admits that acting was something he fell into as an adolescent and his passion lies with in fact with his drawing and painting practice.

Never formally trained as a painter, his simple ink on paper works recall an innate sense of innocence and naivety. These almost childlike figurative works are, however, corrupted by haunting imagery – a small figure on a horse being held up at gun point; dark figures in shadow readying their guns; an isolated and desolate landscape. The scenes and imagery appear as if from an unknown land, the beginning a new civilisation or a re-imagining of the past. There is also an underlying humour in Taylor’s work. One cannot help but smirk when confronted with the scene of a cat offering a supportive pat on the back.

Taylor draws from the subconscious, allowing his brush to intuitively form the bizarre and unsettling narratives. Noah Taylor’s works, although seemingly simple, leave a vivid, complex and – most certainly – a lasting impression.

Noah Taylor
New Works
Exhibition 4 – 21 June 2014
To be opened by Claudia Karvan 7 June 2014

Olsen Irwin
Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture
40 Queen Street
Woollahra NSW 2025


Noah Taylor | New Works

Noah Taylor discussing his highly successful exhibition with Olsen Irwin in Jan 2013. Taylor describes his works as “… little frozen scenes from a story.” – Noah Taylor

By drawing from the subconscious, Taylor allows his brush to intuitively form bizarre and unsettling narratives. Taylor’s works, although seemingly simple, leave a vivid, complex and – most certainly – a lasting impression.

Taylor’s new works on paper will be exhibited in the Olsen Irwin Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture Gallery from 4 – 21 June 2014. The exhibition will be opened by Claudia Karvan on Saturday 7 June 2 – 4pm.

Noah Taylor
New Works
To be opened by Claudia Karvan, Saturday 7 June 2 – 4pm
Exhibition 4 – 21 June 2014

Olsen Irwin
Works on Paper, Small Painting and Sculpture
40 Queen Street
Woollahra NSW 2025


Sophie Cape | Mt Everest

Sophie Cape has returned from her trek to Mt Everest base camp with some stunning photos and breathtaking stories. The deadliest avalanche in Mt Everest’s history struck just a week after Cape’s trek, killing 16 sherpa guides. Their lives will be remembered with their signatures collected on a work that Cape produced during the trip. Cape dragged the canvas on the ground behind her on her trek to base camp, collecting signatures on the way. Cape often exposes her works to the elements, such as heat, rain and frost, however this work would have to be considered her most extreme and profound.

Describing the trek as one of the hardest things she has ever accomplished, Cape is now reflecting on her time with an artists’ residency in Hill End. During the Hill End residency, Cape will produce works for her upcoming exhibition at Olsen Irwin, Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture 2 – 19 July 2014.

Sophie Cape
New Works
Opening Saturday 5 July, 2 – 4pm
Exhibition 2 – 19 July 2014

Olsen Irwin
Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture
40 Queen Street
Woollahra NSW 2025                         IMG_3899 IMG_3938 IMG_4008 IMG_4090 IMG_4188 IMG_4205 IMG_4256 IMG_4269IMG_4265 IMG_4316


Fiona McMonagle | Shortlisted | National Works on Paper

Fiona McMonagle has been shortlisted for The Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery’s 2014 National Works on Paper with her work The Bird Lady. National Works on Paper aims to promote and support contemporary Australian artists working with on on paper and is one of Australia’s most prestigious awards and acquisitive exhibitions. The exhibition opens 23 May 2014.

2014 National Works on Paper
23 May – 20 July 2014

Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery
Civic Reserve, Dunns Road (corner of Mornington-Tyabb Road and Dunns Road)
Mornington 3931


Fiona McMonagle, The Bird Lady, 2013, Ink and watercolour on paper, 78.5 x 114cm


Nicholas Harding | Studio Visit Q&A

In the second installment of our artist studio visit Q&A, Olsen Irwin Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture manager, Madeleine Brady, talks with Nicholas Harding.

HardingStudio_5blogMB: In search of Nicholas Harding’s studio I hurry along a Camperdown street of identical terrace houses. I spot a paint splattered curtain peeking through a door, the familiar smell of oil paint fills the air and I know I’ve arrived. Like the curtain, the clear plastic lining the studio walls is covered in brush marks and the colours of previous works, protecting the bright white walls beyond. I am greeted by Harding’s wife Lynne and given a quick tour of the modern loft terrace as Harding works vigorously on a large canvas. Although most recognised for his textural layers of oil paint, I am here to view the artist’s etchings and works on paper, hoping to fill the Olsen Irwin drawers with some new finds and familiar favourites.

Harding flips through large gouache works on paper. We come across portraits of friends and family, including Australian actor Hugo Weaving, Olsen Irwin artist Paul Davies and Harding’s wife Lynne. In the upstairs loft space we find small sketches from his 2013 residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and peruse the carefully organised drawers of etchings. I take with me some gouache studies of Parisian dogs and a bunch of etchings, including the 2001 etching of Harding’s Archibald Prize winning work ‘John Bell as King Lear‘.

Harding then riffles through the mountains of sketch books littering the studio floor – notebooks of exquisite handmade paper filled entirely with studies drawn of the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of the famed Samuel Beckett play ‘Waiting for Godot’. Harding will exhibit works from the ‘Waiting for Godot’ series at Olsen Irwin in May 2014.

Do you view your sketches and drawings as a part of your overall process or as works in themselves?
NH: They’re largely part of the overall process, of working things out but the ones that really hit the mark can exist as independent works.

photo-55MB: You are currently making a series of etchings from the ‘Waiting for Godot’ sketchbooks – how relevant are etchings to your artistic practice?
NH: These are my first since I did some etchings back in 2001-05 with Duckprint and Cicada Press. Working this time with Laura Jones at Legs Press. Etching is another way of drawing and with the Godot etchings it’s a way of developing some of the images from the sketchbooks. The first ones are faithful to the initial sketches but others were developed further. It’s exciting to see how the drawn mark in the soft ground will bite. Most of the plates had a few states of development but one plate came out of the first bite and was done.

HardingStudio_6blogMB: How did you get involved in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of ‘Waiting for Godot’?
NH: While I was artist-in-residence at the Cité des Internationales in Paris last year there was a ‘pop-up’ Globe theatre outside my studio window and I drew the actors while they waited for their cues and paced around outside. Hugo Weaving saw some of these drawings on Instagram and invited me to draw during STC’s rehearsals for ‘Waiting for Godot’ later in the year.

MB: What do you hope to achieve from your exhibition of works from the ‘Waiting for Godot’ series?
NH: With any series the hope is to create some exciting and engaging work, to communicate my response to something which excites me. I just feel compelled to draw with something, with ink, paint, on an etching plate. It’s how I attempt to make sense of things. The arts are a way of entering into life and to collaborate with another art form, another means of expression, gets me out of my comfort zone and opens up other possibilities for my work.

HardingStudio_1blogHardingStudio_4blogMB: The theatre has been a reoccurring theme in your work, will we see more joint ventures with the Sydney Theatre Company in the future?
NH: There are a couple of productions later on this year I’d love to be able to attend and draw but it does depend very much upon our mutual schedules.

Nicholas Harding
Drawing Godot
7 – 25 May 2014

Olsen Irwin
63 Jersey Road
Woollahra NSW 2025HardingStudio_7blogHardingStudio_2blogHardingStudio_8blog


Michael Johnson | Art Gallery of New South Wales


Michael Johnson, Frontal 2, 1968, Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 198.5 x 214cm

Michael Johnson’s work ‘Frontal 2‘ as well as a selection of drawings have been put on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until late June 2014. The works are from the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ collection. The drawings, ‘Untitled’, acrylic, crayon & oilstick on paper, date from 1980 and were purchased from his exhibition ‘Small works on paper’ held that year at Gallery A.

“Michael Johnson, Sydney Ball, Dick Watkins and Tony McGillick all showed work in ‘The field’ exhibition held at the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1968, the first comprehensive survey of Australian colour-field painting. Johnson’s works from the 1960s onwards are primarily concerned with colour and the manipulation of spatial planes through colour relationships. ‘Frontal 2’ was one of two works he exhibited in The field. He developed it out of a series of modular-shaped canvases he began in 1965 in London, where he was able to experience first-hand the works of the New York School artists.” – Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Rd
The Domain 2000 Sydney


Paul Ryan | Studio Visit Q&A

These images were shot on a recent visit to Paul Ryan‘s Thirroul studio. Ryan allowed us a look at his most recent work for the upcoming exhibition ‘Happy Days On The Leisure Coast’ at Olsen Irwin Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture. Ryan’s exhibition will be the first solo show in the recently relaunched Queen Street space, that showcases artists’ smaller and more accessible works. While at Ryan’s the studio, I had a chance to get answers to the questions I’d been itching to ask. Scroll down for the Q&A:


OI. How do you feel about the focus on your personal life in the media – as the son of a catholic priest and catholic college worker, adopted into a family in New Zealand?
PR. I am very comfortable with the media focus on my personal life and the unique circumstances surrounding my conception, and subsequent adoption.

OI. We saw this influence your recent entry for The Blake Prize ‘My Real Daddy is a Priest’, 2013. Has this influenced much of your other work to date?
PR. ‘My Real Daddy is a Priest’, is the first work I have made regarding my biological father and adoption. I have nothing new to add at the present but don’t rule out more work on this topic at some stage.

PR_Studio_Jan2014_4webPR_Studio_Jan2014_12webOI. With your last exhibition titled ‘Wild Colonial Boys’ and a focus on male explorers, pioneers and first settlers, when will we see some wild colonial girls?
PR. One of the works in the upcoming show ‘Happy Days on the Leisure Coast’, is a group picnic scene with both men and women. Possibly more work to follow with images of colonial women in extravagant dress.

OI. We are beginning to see more references to the notion of a dandy in your work, this seems quite far removed from your life as an artist and surfer in Thirroul. Did you miss your calling?
PR. I have long been attracted to the idea of dressing as a dandy. The thing is, I live in Wollongong, well Thirroul to be precise and getting about as a dandy would draw the wrong sort of attention I suspect. Better to dress in a fashion that renders me inconspicuous. If, however I lived in New York or London, where the winters are very cold I could see myself developing a fine and dandy wardrobe.PR_Studio_Jan2014_13webPR_Studio_Jan2014_1webPaul Ryan
Happy Days On The Leisure Coast
Opening Saturday 1 March 2-4pm
Exhibition 26 February – 29 March 2014

Olsen Irwin
Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture
40 Queen Street
Woollahra NSW 2025
Tues to Sat 11-5 or by appoinment
+61 2 9363 0660 | info@olsengallery.com | www.olsengallery.com

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