What's on Saturday May 23?

Autumn is a wonderful time to explore Woollahra as the leafy streets turn ablaze in autumnal amber.

This Saturday the autumn sun is out after a night of torrential rain and the streets are truly sparkling.

If you’re in the area why not grab a take away coffee and explore all that the Woollahra Village has on offer.

Olsen Irwin is open until 5pm today and is showing two exhibitions across both our Galleries.

A visit to the Main Gallery located at 63 Jersey Rd is always a good way to start Ones Saturday morning.

On view at the Main Gallery is an exhibition of recent works by Luke Sciberras entitled Human Condition.


Luke Sciberras, Mining Stuff 2015, Oil on board, 120 x 120cm, $10,000

A short stride around the corner is the new Olsen Irwin Works on Paper Gallery, 74 Queen Street.

The Works on Paper Gallery is currently displaying works by Noah Taylor entitled Human Condition.


Noah Taylor, Untitled 2015, Ink on paper, 55 x 75cm, $1, 980

Whilst visiting the Works on Paper Gallery flick through our works rack, housing many of the Olsen Irwin Gallery’s artists, you never know what might take your eye.

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Artist Interview: Luke Sciberras

Luke Sciberras exhibition at the Olsen Irwin Gallery 63 Jersey Road has a real sense of presence and understanding of locality.


The works draw from recent artist residencies to Gallipoli, Bruny Island and Outback NSW. The exhibition entitled Human Condition reveals Sciberras masterful revaluation of landscape. Each of the landscapes Sciberras depicts has a deep sense of understanding and contemplation. His brushstrokes are thick and painterly creating dynamic expressions of form and depth.


 Luke Sciberras, Up Shit Creek, Gallipoli 2014, oil on board, 160 x 240 cm, $34,000

Sciberras demonstrates a real pull to landscape in his works

“A sense of place, a feeling that can only really be understood and then expressed by spending extended periods of time in the landscape, for me that is, walking, sitting, painting, resting and keenly studying every nuance of every scene I encounter.”   Luke Sciberras, 2012


 Luke Sciberras, Bruny Island Study 2 2014, Gouache and pastel on paper, 50 x 70cm, $3,500

Luke kindly answered some questions to help unpack his strong sense of attachment to the landscape.

Artist Interview with Luke Sciberras

Q1) Many of the works in Human condition were completed during artist residencies, is changing your context something you believe is pivotal to expanding the range your work?

There’s a constant learning as I travel around to new places , either internationally or within the many and various landscapes in Australia , I am always faced with new subjects , and revisiting favourites . There’s a tone and palette , a history and a pulse to each place that is unique , and this character can only be expressed after a considerable amount of time is spent studying and reflecting , then , in time and in the studio there is an image made which hopefully resembles a remembered studied encapsulation of a place that I’ve loved, with it’s own resolved and entirely new presence .

Q2) Gallipoli is a sacred place for many Australians, how did the proximity to such a landmark of Australian identity affect your work?


Yes my journey around the Gallipoli peninsula accompanied by a group of other Australian painters and an historian from the Australian war memorial lifted me into an entirely new form of expression of the landscape .As I wrote in the catalogue essay , it is becoming more and more apparent to me that every place we visit has a layer of history patinaed into it, this was one of the most moving of all . There is a strangely complex arrangement there of Mediterranean , European , middle eastern and oddly Australian historical terrain which took some time to tune in to in a painterly way. The brief on having been invited on the trip was to make a body of work focusing on the landscape to form a body of works which now hang in the Australian National University and at the S H Ervin gallery, the thing was though almost none of the artists could wrest an image that was devoid of the human element there , the terror and toil that was embedded into those escarpments and also the immediate and enduring messages of peace expressed diplomatically between the Turkish and Australian people . 


Q3) The works in your exhibition have a very raw and real quality to them, do you believe this is developed from a deeper understanding of landscape?


The raw quality in my work is I guess a direct reflection of the substance and actual characteristics of the landscapes I visit . I’m not interested in making anything but a direct expression with layers of paint of the travels and places I’ve learned . These images if only via the briefest remarks are assured by many and detailed studies I’ve made by immersing myself into the awe inspiring elements that overcome anyone who spends time in the bush . Weeks on end in the studio are only interrupted by new travels to harvest more and more of the raw materials I need to keep painting fresh and revisited subjects.


Q4) The ability to capture the Australian landscape has been a constant subject for artists. What do you believe is so captivating about it?

The thing about the Australian landscape is that it is so vast and so various , and so new! There are frontiers still being discovered and explored by so many people and each in their own way. There is no universal ‘Australian style ‘ of painting the landscape because I believe we are still exploring it , even the cutting edge of aboriginal painting is a blurry new and elastic medium finding its own way, at once ancient and contemporary .

The vast stretches of the Australian outback are deceptive in their uneventful appearance , only with time and at a walking pace can one see and perceive the endless subtlety and painterly material there is to be had and conversely I found a tremendous energy in the rolling green hills that plunge toward the bays that surround bruny island off Tasmania. There is almost a stinging pop element to using those colours which I enjoy immensely, though no less difficult to resolve. 


Q5) How preconceived is your image when you start your works or is it something that develops as you layer your brushstrokes?

The whole thrill of painting is that you dance along a knife edge the whole time not knowing how a picture will end up looking, of course I refer to my notes and drawings , gouaches and sketches to score up the composition tone and flavour but after some time, over the weeks that it takes to finish these works, they get their own lift-off and my memory and eye become honed to resolving an image that is contained entirely within it’s own four sides and takes on it’s own organic energy. Then in time the work holds it’s own and tells me somehow when it’s finished, beyond device or idea I can apply.

Q6) Would there be any advice you would give to young artist starting out? 

The only advice I could give to a young artist starting out is paint more and above all, draw. Remember that what people respond to most is an authentic original mark which is something you can’t think up , so do it by feel , and often! 

Luke Sciberras: Human Condition is on display at the Main Olsen Irwin Gallery Jersey Road until the 31st of May

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Opening today Luke Scibberas & Noah Taylor

Olsen Irwin is pleased to invite you to view the latest works by Luke Sciberras and Noah Taylor.



Luke Sciberras


Noah Taylor

The two exhibitions Luke Sciberras: Human Condition and Noah Taylor: Alone together open for public view today.

Luke Sciberras’ works explore Luke’s emergence into landscape and had been developed over the past 18 months during artist residencies at Gallipoli, Bruny Island and Outback NSW.

The Show takes over both of the Jersey Road Galleries and includes works on canvas and paper.

The Main Gallery is located at 63 Jersey Road, Woollahra.


Luke Sciberras

Launching the brand new Queen Street Gallery is the latest offerings of works by Noah Taylor.

Noah Taylor’s works are all ink on paper and explore themes of observation and persecution.


Noah Taylor

The new Olsen Irwin Works on Paper Gallery is located at 74 Queen Street

Both Luke Sciberras: Human Condition and Noah Taylor: Alone Together run until the 31st of May


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Opening Tomorrow Night 6pm Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra

The Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, in conjunction with Olsen Irwin Invites you to the opening of  ‘Return to Anzac Cove: Your friend the enemy’


This Friday 10 April 6pm

The Anzac legend at Gallipoli is engrained into the Australian psyche. The bloody theater of modern warfare proved to be the testing ground for an infantile nation. Australia, though young, stood bravely beside her brothers and sisters of the British Empire and entered the War whole heartily.

Out of the horrific events observed, not just at Gallipoli, but also, throughout the Great War, come national ideals of mateship, resolve and the “Digger”. It has been a constant subject of fascination for many Australian artists, musicians, play writes, politicians and historians.

The Great War changed everything, as put so eloquently by British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey

“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”.

Australia lost more soldiers per capita then any other nation in the world. The cream of a generation was lost in battalions of friends, church groups, sporting clubs and workers unions. Every small town in Australia, public institution and school displays the scars of the war in the form of an Honour Roll, Memorial Hall or garden.

The Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra is displaying an exhibition that reflects on the ultimate sacrifice given by those brave young Australian men in 1915.  This exhibition portrays a landscape of tragic memory via the responses of 12 contemporary artists and features two Olsen Irwin Artists Guy Maestri and Luke Sciberras’ works,

The Exhibition was devised from two expeditions, one in 2013, one in 2014, groups of Australian and New Zealand artists set up their easels in the Dardanelles, revisiting what was once called ‘the most sacred corner of Australian soil.’ Tens of thousands of young men had lost their lives here during the 8-month campaign.

The exhibition’s title, ‘Your Friend the Enemy,’ originates in a letter written by Idris Charles Pike, the grandfather of artist Idris Murphy. The phrase testifies to an extraordinary relationship between the enemy camps.

During periodic ceasefires, Turkish soldiers would haul tobacco and papers over no-man’s-land into the ANZAC trenches, in exchange for biscuits and jam. On one occasion there was a note attached, signing off ‘from your friend, the enemy.’

The Exhibition opens Friday 10 April 2015 6pm at the Drill Hall Gallery, Kingley Street Acton.  It will be opened by Bill Gammage adjunct professor in ANU Humanities Research Centre.



Luke Sciberras: Human Condition Exhibition – Glasshouse Gallery Port Macquarie Opens Tonight

This evening the Glasshouse Gallery Port Macquarie is opening a show of recent paintings by Luke Sciberra, Human Condition .

Human Condition is inspired by Luke’s recent travels to Gallipoli as well as the arid Australian interior and green headlands of Bruny Island off southern Tasmania.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 12.37.32 pm

Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, 2015, oil on board, 120 x 120cm


The exhibition features a series of landscape paintings and studies that explore Sciberras’ emotional attachment to place. Through immersing himself in the landscape Sciberras fosters a deep understanding of the unique character and mood of a location. His paintings are layered with meaning and act as portraits as well as landscapes, capturing the personal and cultural histories and the human condition.
Sciberras lives and works in Hill End. He graduated from the National Arts School with a bachelor in Fine Art in 1997. He is regarded as a significant artist within the contemporary landscape genre, Australian critic John McDonald stated,  “Luke is one of the significant emerging landscape artists of his generation”.

If you’re in the Port Macquarie area this evening please join Luke from 6pm at the Glasshouse Gallery.

The show runs from the 27th of March until April 26

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Luke Sciberras, Sophie Cape, Guy Warren, Guy Maestri and Ann Thomson | The Blow-In Art Collective

More images of Guy Warren, Guy Maestri, Ann Thomson, Sophie Cape and Luke Sciberras’ painting trip to broken hill as part of The Blow-In Art Collective. Part of a group of ten, these five artists spent time creating artworks in the area, before exhibiting the pieces in an exhibition at the regional gallery, currently on show.

The images below allow for a good comparison between the kind of land these artists found themselves on and the way they decided to depict it. And while sometimes painting en plein air can be hazardous for artists (we need only refer to the picture of Sophie Cape’s bunched up paper canvas, a result of the wind) one can see here that painting in situ provides all sorts of opportunities for an artist to create an original piece of work. And to be in the company of other friendly artists provides another dimension to the process of creation. Not only have these artists produced some fantastic artworks, it also looks from these images as though they had a fantastic time producing them.

The other artists involved in the project are Steve Lopes, Euan Macleod, Kevin Connor, Peter Kingston and Dan Kyle.

The Blow-In Art Collective
Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery
404-408 Argent St, Broken Hill, NSW, 2880
Friday October 10 – November 24


































Guy Warren, Luke Sciberras, Sophie Cape, Ann Thomson and Guy Maestri | Painting trip to Broken Hill

A group of five artists from the Olsen Irwin stables are currently in Broken Hill creating works of art for the Regional Gallery. Guy Maestri, Ann Thomson, Sophie Cape, Luke Sciberras and Guy Warren are part of the “Blow-in art collective,” a group of ten artists from Sydney who will be painting en plein air in the area for two weeks.

At the end of this period the fresh works will be hung straight away in the gallery. It is quite unusual for something like this to occur without the finishing touches being added to a work in the studio first. It really is something that requires quite a bit of confidence on behalf of both the artists and the gallery.

The other artists involved in the project are Steve Lopes, Euan Macleod, Kevin Connor, Peter Kingston and Dan Kyle. From the photos below (taken by Luke Sciberras) it seems the group are not only making some wonderful artworks, but are also having a fantastic time together.

The Blow-In Art Collective
Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery
404-408 Argent St, Broken Hill, NSW, 2880
Friday October 10 – November 24











sophie cape




Guy Maestri | Art of Music | Sydney Morning Herald

The Sydney Morning Herald’s  spoke with Guy Maestri about his work for the charity auction event, Art of Music. ‘Are you Leaving for the Country’ by Australian band The Drones is both the inspiration and the title of Maestri’s work to be auctioned for the event. Money raised will go to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, ‘founded in 1984 to promote and develop the understanding, training and practice of creative music therapy.’ – Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy. For the auction 11 artists were asked to create a work based on an iconic Australian song. Olsen Irwin artists Nicholas Harding, Luke Sciberras and Amanda Marburg are also contributing works to the auction.

Watch Maestri discuss his work and song choice and read the article here on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

Art of Music
Saturday 14 June 2014
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
Performances by Don Walker, Missy Higgins and Sunny Amoreena


Guy Maestri, ‘Are you Leaving for the Country’, 2014. Nicholas Harding, ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’, 2014


Luke Sciberras, ‘The Belly of the Whale’, 2014. Amanda Marburg, ‘That Ain’t Bad’ 2014


Sophie Cape and Luke Sciberras | ACAF Residency

“Our Arts Can Do Xucun summer art center for children successfully came to an end, after close to two months of classes and residencies in Shanxi’s He Shun mountain district. All the equipment for the classes; books, papers, paints, clay, fabric and other materials were provided by Arts Can Do and its supporters and sponsors both from China and overseas. Children produced hundreds of their own paintings, drawings and photographs, as well as gained confidence expressing their own ideas and perspectives.” – ACAF

As part of the Australia China Art Foundation Fellowship Programme, Sophie Cape and Luke Sciberras taught art classes for underprivileged children in the Chinese district of Shanxi’s He Shun. Each artist was also given a studio space where they created a body of work to be exhibited at the ACAF project space in Melbourne in 2014.

Cape’s photos of their trip with the ACAF programme reveal beautiful imagery of China and its people. Be sure to click ‘continue reading’ to view more stunning photos of their experience.

IMG_0626IMG_0883IMG_0769IMG_1942 IMG_2047_2 Continue reading


John Olsen and Luke Sciberras | Frog Tattoo

John Olsen has tried his hand to tattooing with Luke Sciberras being the lucky bearer of an original iconic Olsen frog now adorning his upper thigh. Olsen’s famous imagery has been used in a wide range of mediums from wine labels to fine art editions, but this is the first time the 85 year old has taken ink to skin. Read The Sydney Morning Herald article about the event here.


John Olsen tattoos Luke Sciberras. Image by Guy Maestri