Selected Past News Items

From the exhibition Paris and other Stories

'Paris and Other Stories' - Aarwun Gallery

SEPT 2017

Paris and Other Stories is a vibrant collection of paintings by artist Bernard Ollis, depicting his playful and idiosyncratic view of some of the world’s most beloved cities; Paris, Sydney, London and New York, amongst a host of others. Ollis captures beautifully the romance of these cities with paintings saturated in colour - vibrating with humanity, humour and narrative.

Ollis arrived in Australia after graduating from London’s Royal College of Art at the age of 25 where he was tutored by the likes of David Hockney and Sir Peter Blake. He is winner of the Conrad Jupiter Art Prize, Gold Coast and the John Minton Art Prize, London. He has also been finalist on several occasions for the Sulman, Moran and Dobell Drawing prizes. He has been awarded artist residencies across the globe - from Paris, to Malta, Egypt, China and Antarctica. Well respected as the Director of the National Art School in Sydney (a position which he held for over 10 years) his paintings can be found in 24 prestigious collections the world over, including the Royal College of Art in London, the NGV in Melbourne, the NGA and Parliament House in Canberra. He now lives between Paris and Sydney.

This extraordinary exhibition will open to a private audience on Saturday 9 September 6:00pm with a conversation between the artist Bernard Ollis and seasoned storyteller and journalist John Hockney, brother of the famed British artist David Hockney. Join us for this very special evening which will feature a curious insight in to the origin, career and travels of this exceptional international artist.

Aarwun Gallery 2017


Bernard Ollis self portrait after Matisse 2017

Ollis self portrait at Salon des Refusés - S.H.Ervin Gallery

JULY 3017

Bernard's - Self portrait after Matisse has been closen to hang in the Salon des Refusés at The National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney.

The Salon des Refusés follows the tradition made famous by Napoleon lll in Paris. He insisted that the huge number of works which had been rejected by the Academy for that year’s Salon, be displayed for the public to view and judge. The very first Salon des Refusés included works by Manet and Pissarro.


Eagle Street Pier Brisbane Oil Pastel 57x76cm

'Observations' - MITCHELL FINE ART


(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).

Exhibition - 'Observations' at Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane 2017


Exhibition - 'Observations' at Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane 2017


Exhibition - 'Observations' at Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane 2017 (above: images from the Exhibition).


Read more - (Interview) 17 May- The Creative Issue

Showing in Shanghai

September 2016

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


Painting for Antarctica

September 2015

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)


Le Regard de deux Australiens

June 2014

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)