Olsen Ormandy: A Creative Force
Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy have a synergistic relationship. They are lovers, business partners, parents and yet, when it comes to artistry in their own right each maintains a unique point of view. Arguably the two practices are united by an affinity for dualities; Olsen is inspired by the ebb and flow of nature, and Ormandy the dance between figurative and non-objective art. The couple met at art school in Sydney in 1983 and quickly discovered they shared a passion for art and design; more than 30 years later their reputation is unique, garnering commercial success and the regard of peers and museums. In a recent survey book gallerist Karen Woodbury states that their output is ‘very much a vernacular of the Australian landscape – the light, the forms and the palette of the natural world’ and Michael Brand, Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, praises their ‘conceptually strong work, technical innovation, followed by continual experimentation.’
‘A Creative Force’ on view at Newcastle Art Gallery is a platform for more than three decades of their partnership (the popular jewellery and homeware brand Dinosaur Designs) as well as the products of two individual artistic practices. Between them there are more than 50 works of art from oil paintings to sculptures in resin and wood, textiles, metal and pieces using marble and stone. In addition Olsen reveals a never before seen series of watercolours, and Ormandy offers new ‘totems’ a smaller iteration of these made their debut at Design Week
London in 2016.
On process and also material outcomes Olsen says ‘there is a something beautiful about the time things take to evolve and perfect in the natural world. Resin, one of the materials we have worked with in this exhibition has a wonderful viscous fluidity that allows us to cross the boundaries of sculpture and painting.’ An enquiring mind susceptible to whimsy is a winning combination in this