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.

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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

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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

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Leila Jeffreys | Prey

'Jeda' Sooty Owl-blog

Leila Jeffreys, ‘Jeda’ Sooty Owl, 2014, fine art inkjet print on archival cotton rag paper, 112 x 89cm

“Prey is a celebration of what makes Australia special and is a reminder that one of our biggest assets soars in the skies above us.” – Leila Jeffreys, 2014

Leila Jeffreys has captured the personalities of Australian native birds of prey in her third series of photographic bird portraits, Prey. In this series we see many different birds of prey, some typically stern and formidable, while others reveal their vulnerable, shy, gentle and affectionate sides. These works fundamentally challenge the common perception of birds of prey as simply being severe, discerning predators.

Over a two year period, Jeffreys worked together with the carers of these creatures to develop this body of work. As the unsung heroes of conservation, the birds’ carers work on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Australian native birds. Working closely with Paul Mander of Broadwings, a raptor training, rescue and conservation centre in Queensland, Jeffreys was able to meet and photograph many native birds of prey, each with their own personalities and quirks.

Prey introduces the viewer to a variety of colourful characters including Pepper, a gorgeous Southern Boobook Owl who was rescued and rehabilitated, yet continues to return to Broadwings every time she is released; Soren the Wedge-Tailed Eagle whose intimidating presence is used as part of a conservation programme to deter other species of birds from destroying property; a cheeky Kestrel called Bandit with a penchant for stealing tea bags; and a rescued Goshawk called Trinity, a victim of habitat destruction as a result of land clearing.

The oversized scale of the works allows the viewer to appreciate these intriguing creatures as equals. Staring into the eyes of a regal bird of prey, one begins to feel a deeper connection and understanding of the species. Jeffreys hopes this will ultimately lead to greater awareness for the conservation of these animals and their habitats.

“These birds are the sovereigns of the skies but they are also at the mercy of misfortune.” – Leila Jeffreys, 2014

'Bandit' Nankeen Kestrel-blog

Leila Jeffreys, ‘Bandit’ Nankeen Kestrel, 2014, fine art inkjet print on cotton rag archival paper, 112 x 89cm

'Duke' Grass Owl-blog

Leila Jeffreys, ‘Duke’ Grass Owl, 2014, fine art inkjet print on archival cotton rag paper, 112 x 89cm

About the artist:

Leila Jeffreys (b. 1972, Papua New Guinea) was raised in Perth, Australia, however thanks to her very adventurous parents, spent much of her childhood travelling. This included time living in Nasrapur, India, a small village 140 kilometres south east of Mumbai and living with her family on a house boat in Kashmir, India. Jeffreys grew up surrounded by wildlife and forest, sparking her interest in the natural world.

Jeffreys went on to study photography as part of a bachelor of arts degree at Murdoch University and Curtin University in Perth. Jeffreys continued her studies in Sydney, completing an Advanced Certificate III in Photography from Ultimo TAFE College.

Jeffreys began documenting birds by way of photographic portraiture as a personal project in 2008. Her first series focused on the much loved family pets, budgerigars. A series of Australian native cockatoos followed in 2012. Jeffreys’ work has been exhibited widely throughout Australia, USA, Hong Kong and the UK.


Sophie Cape | In conversation with Richard Morecroft

Watch Sophie Cape in conversation with broadcaster Richard Morecroft discussing the exhibition Shadows of White – From Shaolin to Everest. The event was hosted on Saturday 19 July 2014, the final day of Sophie Cape’s 2014 exhibition at Olsen Irwin Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture.


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 | The Sunday Telegraph

Screen shot 2014-06-10 at 11.38.02 AMArts writer Elizabeth Fortescue covered the opening of Noah Taylor’s exhibition of new work for The Sunday Telegraph. “This second exhibition, titled New Works, is a series of drawings in ink on paper. It’s a medium in which Taylor says he can work quickly to record his subconscious thoughts.” – Elizabeth Fortescue, The Sunday Telegraph

Read the article in full here on The Daily Telegraph website.

Noah Taylor
New Works
4 – 21 June 2014

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


Sophie Cape | Sydney Morning Herald


Sophie Cape. Image courtesy Tamara Dean and Sydney Morning Herald

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Rick Feneley sat down with Sophie Cape to discuss her life, from a career as an international downhill skier, to her time as a sprint cyclist with the Australian Institute of Sport, and her current profession as an artist with Olsen Irwin gallery.

Describing her time as a downhill skier, Feneley says, “She spent the next six years working back-to-back winters as an instructor at Whistler and Thredbo to pay for her new life as a downhill racer. She squeezed in a bachelor of design in visual communication at the University of Technology, Sydney (valedictorian, first-class honours and awarded a Full Blue for skiing). She also worked: cleaning public toilets, stacking shelves at Woolworths and planting saplings in Alaska for 5¢ a tree.” – Rick Feneley, Brushes with Death, Sydney Morning Herald

After a series of horrific crashes and reconstructive surgeries, Capes career as a downhill skier came to and end. In 2002, Cape applied for a talent identification program at the Australian Institute of Sport, designed to counter the shortage of female track sprint cyclists for the 2008 Olympics.

“‘I didn’t know what track cycling was,’ Cape says. She had never seen a velodrome, which was perfect as the AIS wanted elite athletes with no cycling experience and therefore ‘no bad habits’. ‘They tested thousands of women and selected 20 of us,’ Cape says.” – Rick Feneley, Brushes with Death, Sydney Morning Herald

“Three years later, Cape was the last of the 20 still standing, though she suffered excruciating leg pain. With her eyes wide open, Cape agreed to experimental surgery. ‘They cut both my thighs open and removed the fascia – the muscle sheath. It meant there was nothing to stop the muscles from growing. Within weeks, my legs were like chicken drumsticks. And I got faster.’ ‘But the pain got worse.'” – Rick Feneley, Brushes with Death, Sydney Morning Herald

After yet another surgery and recovery time spent at the AIS in Canberra, Cape was left unable to take part in any form of strenuous exercise. Cape then went on to study at the National Art School in Sydney. Selection as winner of the 2010 John Olsen Prize for Figure Drawing came as Cape’s big break. From 2011, Cape was represented by Tim Olsen Gallery, now Olsen Irwin.

“She ventures alone into the outback, sleeps on a swag and ”cohabits” for weeks at a time with her works in progress. ‘If a piece is not working, I’ll close my eyes and throw something at it, or I’ll just leave it in the rain.'” – Rick Feneley, Brushes with Death, Sydney Morning Herald

Not content producing works in the relative safety of the Australian outback, Cape travels the world, pushing her own physical limitations and the limitations of her works. In 2013, Cape took past in an artist’s residency programme with the Australia China Art Foundation Fellowship Programme. She also recently returned from a trek to Mt Everest Base Camp. The day after Cape flew out of Base Camp, Everest’s worst recorded avalanche hit, killing 16 Sherpas. Cape had collected many of their signatures on a canvas that she dragged along on the trek with her. Cape’s upcoming exhibition at Olsen Irwin will be a reflection of these two events of the past year.

The article is an absolute must read and can be read in its entirety here on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

Sophie Cape
New Work
Opening Saturday 5 July 2014 2-4pm
Exhibition 2 – 20 July 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