From Andrew Frost…
One never quite experiences the siren song of the art life quite as poignantly than in the work of Bernard Ollis. Ollis’s canvases have the charm of the artist’s observation of the every day – and what a day it is: working in the studio, relaxing with friends at home surrounded by friendly animals, trysting by the Seine, living it large on the Pont Neuf, hanging around the fairground. One can positively smell the freshly baked brioche on the gentle spring breeze.
Ollis’s paintings overflow with bonhomie, their loose figuration brimming with the influence of Matisse and Vincent whatshisname. The title work of the show Modern Living demonstrates Ollis’s delicate control over a canvas stuffed with incident. In the hands of a lesser artist all this could end up a garish mess, but Ollis keeps his colours clean and his lines supple, the backgrounds busting into the foreground. While the couple in the picture look a little overwhelmed by it all, there’s a generous bottle of wine close to hand. And who could begrudge them a tipple?
Until January 27
Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Manly.
Pic: Bernard Ollis, Modern Living, 2005. Oil on canvas, 160 x 140cm