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.