'Observations' - MITCHELL FINE ART
ARTICLE (Extract) BY LENA OWEN
(The Creative Issue 19 May 2017)
Bernard Ollis’ exhibition Observations at Mitchell Fine Art Gallery follows his style of colourful mysterious worlds.
Streetscapes inspired by Brisbane, Paris, Morocco and London draw in the viewer. A snapshot in time and a visual representation of days spent admiring viewpoints and happenings in a certain locale. Ollis’ works are continuously a flamboyant and colourful interlude to our day.
His works skew perspective to show the viewer more than the physical viewpoint, creating a memory of the emotional experience of a place rather than a true recollection. His compositional balance is intuitive and leads viewers gaze up, around and through the work. A never-ending journey of curves and details. For, as Bernard himself agrees, Fine Art never reveals everything in the first viewing.
Bernard is an artist who supports art for art’s sake. This creative freedom is evident on the joy and colour of his works. His use of oil pastels allows him an immediacy of work and rework. Here, there is a focus on optimism and possibility that is increasingly pertinent to the current arts scene
However, we bring our preconceptions to our interpretation of artworks and on this bright sunny day in Brisbane, I feel a chill. Viewed in the current mindset of the Australian public, with vast political upheaval and uncertain futures – the bright energy of these works stands in stark contrast. As I lament the current level of respect for visual arts, the fantastical works take on malicious undertones – teasing me with the memory of a better yesterday.
As I wander through the ‘Observations’ exhibition, I hope it is a prediction – a foretelling of the bright, patterned future of Brisbane. The fervour of the works brings me boundless joy and the invitation to create my own story is appreciated. Viewed en masse, the works jump out from the white walls of Mitchell Fine Art Gallery with powerful impact.
(image above: Eagle Street Pier Brisbane Oil Pastel 57x76cm).
(above: images from the Exhibition).
Read more - (Interview) 17 May- The Creative Issue
Showing in Shanghai
The above montage of photographs are from Bernard's Shanghai Arts Centre exhibition with Wendy Sharpe. The exhibition opened in September 2016 by the Australian Consular General, Shanghai, amid much interest and razamataz from Chinese TV and news media.
Exhibitions took place at the following venues:
2016 Run Ya Artspace Linyi.
2016 Cultural Exchange of Australia and China, Linyi Arts Centre Shandong.
2016 Storytelling about China - Shanghai Cultural Centre & Art Gallery China.
Visit Chinese news media, ArtExpress
The above video interview took place ahead of the exhibition 'Travels to Paris' at Harvey Galleries in 2016 was recorded at at Bernard's studio in Saint Peter's, Sydney.
Read More on 'Travels to Paris' 2016
Painting for Antarctica
Special Guests Bernard Ollis, Wendy Sharpe, Andrew Denton, and Andrew Jackson joined the Chimu Adventures journey to South Georgia and Antarctica in 2014. They were retracing some of the highlights from Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-17) which became one of history's greatest survival stories.
Proceeds from this journey in 2014 and a special charity exhibition for 'Painting for Antarctica' at The Australian National Maritime Museum helped to raise funds for the Mawson's Huts Foundation. Bernard's paintings (courtesy of NG Art, 3 Little Queen St, Sydney) formed part of the exhibition Shackleton: Escape from Antarctica at the NAMM ending in April 2016.
Scale in Antarctica is extraordinary. It is impossible to understand the size of things in the distance.
Senior Curator at the NAMM Diana Fletcher interviewed Bernard Ollis and Wendy Sharpe about thier impressions of the frozen continent.
Download of view the illustrated 'signals' article (PDF 500kb)
The Mawson's Huts Foundation helps to conserve the historic huts at Cape Denison, which the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Douglas Mawson, used as its base for two years.
View website of Mawson's Huts Foundation)
View website of Australian National Maritime Museum)
Bernard and partner Wendy Sharpe spend many months of each year in their atelier/apartment in Montmartre. It was fitting that in June 2014 they should hold a major exhibition in Paris.
The paintings in this exhibition were personal reflections upon the city of Paris, its architecture, its streets and its people.
Bernard and Wendy were delighted that despite his very busy schedule distinguished guest, The Australian Ambassador to France Mr Ric Wells was able to formally open the exhibition.
The exhibition ran from Monday 2nd to the Saturday 14th June 2014.
Download the invitation (English version PDF 718kb)
This eight minute video made in 2007 (When Bernard was Director of The National Art School provides an interesting insight into the way the two artist's interact. The context of their two adjacent studios, linked by a curtained doorway is explored within the the conversatin.