Olsen Or­mandy: A Cre­ative Force

Art Almanac - - Art In Aus­tralia - Chloe Mandryk

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

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