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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Marisa Purcell | Studio Visit

We paid a visit to Marisa Purcell’s Bondi studio in the months leading up to her exhibition Polyphony, currently on show until 17 August 2014 at Olsen Irwin. Purcell’s light filled studio was a hive of activity as she put the final touches onto her mixed media on linen works. Be sure to visit Olsen Irwin for the final week of Purcell’s show.

Purcell_Studio2014_1Polyphony: from Greek poluphōnia, from polu- ‘many’ + phōnē ‘sound’.
def: The style of simultaneously combining a number of parts, each forming an individual melody and harmonizing with
each other. (“Polyphony.” The Oxford English Dictionary)

“What is the omnipresence of sound? Is it visible?
Is it constant or sporadic?  Is there an underlying rhythm?
Sound is essentially abstract, endless and defies visual description.

The expression of sound through painting is by no means a new idea – Kandinsky’s improvisation paintings of the early 20th century allowed painting to enter into a world of sound, rhythm and timbre, liberating painting from the visual world.

Like sound, a painting has rhythm – the regular alternation between silent gaps and beats. The spaces – the voids – are anything but empty.

In these new paintings, sound dissolves, and dissipates into an underlying field. Where does this sound go? And what form does it take? The colours and marks in these paintings are a playful imagining of how sounds relate – how they cross over, how they resonate and then how they disappear or transmute into another state.

Colours blur out of focus, as if the light hasn’t yet reached us, lines feel as though they are moving away and gestures punctuate to bring together a polyphonic composition in paint. The varied forms of tone and mark reveal distant sounds that have always been present, and will always remain.

To depict is to impose boundaries, and a sense of the infinite is boundless, un-depictable. The abstract becomes the language with which to respond to this boundlessness, to respond to sound.”

Purcell_Studio2014_3 Purcell_Studio2014_4About the artist:

After an initial career as a high school art teacher, Marisa Purcell (b. 1971, Queensland) moved to Sydney in 1994 to pursue a career in art practice. She went on to complete a Post-technician’s certificate in Printmaking from the National Art School, Master of Art Administration at the College of Fine Art UNSW and a Master of Visual Arts from the University of Sydney. In 2006 Purcell received the University of Sydney Postgraduate Award.

Purcell has been awarded prestigious residencies both in Australia and internationally, including a six-month residency in Zürich, Switzerland in 2003, a 2004 residency at the Cite Internationale des arts Paris, in 2008 at Haefligers Cottage, Hill End with Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and with Waverley Council in 2009. Purcell has exhibited Australia wide and internationally in Italy, France, Switzerland, Korea and Hong Kong.

Marisa Purcell
30 July – 17 August

Olsen Irwin
63 Jersey Road
Woollahra NSW 2025 Purcell_Studio2014_5 Purcell_Studio2014_6 Purcell_Studio2014_7 Purcell_Studio2014


Ann Thomson | Direction Now | Glasshouse Regional Gallery

Ann Thomson’s work is currently on show in the exhibition Direction Now at Port Macquarie’s Glasshouse Regional Gallery. Direction Now features the work of ten contemporary Australian artists all exploring the visual language of abstraction. The exhibition is takes its title from the 1956 exhibition Direction 1 held at the Macquarie Galleries, Sydney. Direction 1 included the work of John Olsen, Robert Klippel, John Passmore, William Rose and Eric Smith and marked an important turning point in Australian abstract art. Direction Now explores a contemporary approach to abstraction and, “celebrates all aspects of abstraction including lyrical, gesture, texture and objectification as individual expression.” – Glasshouse Regional Gallery

Direction Now will also travel to The Town Hall Gallery, Lismore Regional Gallery and Caboulture Regional Art Gallery in 2014.

Direction Now
27 June – 3 August 2014

Glasshouse Regional Gallery
Corner of Clarence and Hay Streets
Port Macquarie NSW 2444


Direction Now featuring the work of Ann Thomson


John Olsen | The Art of Australia

John Olsen has been featured in Edmund Capon’s ABC documentary ‘The Art of Australia‘. The three part series presented by Edmund Capon, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1978 until 2011, depicts the history of Australia through its art and artists. Catch up on this not to be missed documentary of on Australian art here.

In the final episode ‘Beyond Australia’, Capon discussed Olsen’s work and influence on Australian art. Olsen and Capon discus his life’s work over lunch at Sydney’s iconic Lucio’s restaurant.

Capon names Olsen as being at the forefront of the abstract revolution in Australia, ‘fighting to take Australian art in a whole new direction’ – Edmund Capon

After leaving Australia for Spain as a 28 year old in 1956, John Olsen returned to Australia in 1960, bringing with him the colours and vitality of Mediterranean culture. This was expressed in his work from 1960 ‘Spanish Encounter‘. Capon calls Olsen’s ‘Spanish Encounter‘, ‘A picture of incredible, I think, vitality and exuberance. You can’t stand in front of this picture and not be moved by the sheer emotion of it all.’ – Edmund Capon

‘Olsen fought for abstract art’s acceptance. It was fresh, energetic and modern.’ – Edmund Capon

Also featured in the episode is Olsen’s ‘Five Bells‘, described by Capon as, ‘A great celebration of the fertile inner life of nature’.

Watch all three episodes of ‘The Art in Australia’ here.

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John Olsen, Five Bells, Limited Edition Fine Art Reproduction, Limited offer of $1,950 for John Olsen’s ‘Five Bells’ in Large (RRP $2,100)