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


Jo Bertini | Paintings of the Desert – Sydney Morning Herald

An article about Jo Bertini’s love affair with the desert is in the Sydney Morning Herald. Jo Bertini has been going on expeditions into rural areas of Australia for the last decade, recording the existence of some truly unique and isolated places with pen and pencil.

“In the desert, Bertini works oblivious to sunburn and exhaustion. Walking beside the camels, she is rarely without sketchbook and pencils. When a scene strikes her, she flops down on a sandhill to make rapid pencil marks on the page; ragged horizon, undulations, a spindly tree here, spinifex there, before shading to capture the contrast between light and dark.” – Sydney Morning Herald

Not only does the article convey Bertini’s enthusiasm to create art, it also communicates her enthusiasm for the desert itself.

“For an artist [the desert] is like the pot of gold,” Bertini says. “There is a sense of time, there is this sense of the enormity of space, you have a real understanding of Australia’s vastness as a continent, which you can’t comprehend when you are on the periphery, on the coast.” – Sydney Morning Herald.

For Bertini the desert is the place where she feels most at home, where she feels most at peace. It is only natural then that her art is centered around experiences in the Australian wilderness, her passion for both art and the landscape driving each other.

An exhibition of Jo’s latest works is currently on at Olsen Irwin until January.

You can read the entire article here

Jo Bertini ‘Terra Incognita”
10 December 2014 – January 2015
Olsen Irwin
63 Jersey Road, Woollahra


Explorer’s Sketchbook, 2014, Ink and Graphite on Paper, 42 x 51cm


Red River Country, 2014, oil on canvas, 138 x 168cm


Sophie Cape | Studio

Sophie Cape was photographed in her Sydney studio by fellow Olsen Irwin artist Tamara Dean for the Sydney Morning Herald. The images give us a great insight into Cape’s studio, materials and process. The accompanying article, detailing her life as a downhill skier and track cyclist before becoming an artist, was featured in Good Weekend on 31 May 2014read the article here.

Sophie Cape’s exhibition Shadows of White – from Shaolin to Everest is on now at Olsen Irwin, Works on Paper, Small Paintings and Sculpture.

Sophie Cape
Shadows of White – from Shaolin to Everest
2 – 20 July 2014

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

All images courtesy Tamara Dean.

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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


Tamara Dean | Anne Summers Reports

Works from Tamara Dean‘s series The Edge features in the April issue of Anne Summers Reports.Dean talks about her most recent series, The Edge, and the select works from the series.

The Edge describes a few things for me: the dramatic emotional landscape of teenage years when self-discovery begins and independence is forged; being on the cusp of moving from childhood to adulthood physically, along with the emotional uncertainty and vulnerability which imbues those teenage years. For me, this boy standing alone in the column of water symbolises that state of transformation and illumination.” – Tamara Dean, Anne Summers Reports, April 2014

“In this series I wanted to make the point that we have informal rites of passage other than binge-drinking. The places in nature that many of us are lucky enough to have access to in Australia and the USA are important social and environmental spaces for coming of age rituals. The rock drops and rope swings; the overgrown lots at the end of the street; the bushland nearby or at the back of the school. The spaces where teenagers go to flex their newfound independence.” – Tamara Dean, Anne Summers Reports, April 2014

As a photo journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald for over ten years, Dean describes the move from journalism to fine art as “… a huge step for me, a dramatically different approach in almost every way. My works went from being responsive to an existing situation, to becoming preconceived and directed.” – Tamara Dean, Anne Summers Reports, April 2014

Anne Summers, founder and editor of the online magazine as well as regular contributor for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, worked formerly as the Canberra bureau chief for the Australian Financial Review, was the editor of Good Weekend and has worked as a correspondent and reported for the Far East Review, Le Mond and the National Times.

Read the Anne Summers Reports article here.
Tamara Dean’s available works can be viewed here on the Olsen Irwin website.

Tamara Dean, The Creek, 2013, photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper, 75 x 100cm

Tamara Dean, The Creek, 2013, photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper, 75 x 100cm


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