Monday, October 11, 2010
Australian Artist John Olsen
John Henry Olsen (1928) is an Australian artist. Olsen's primary subject of work is landscape.
In 1957 a Sydney art critic raised funds for John Olsen to go to England and paint. Olsen returned to Sydney in 1960. He wanted to represent Australian culture in such a way that the world would see the diversity in the changing outback seasons.
In 1968 Olsen set up and ran the Bakery Art School, and in 1972-73 he painted 'Salute to Five Bells', inspired by Kenneth Slessor's poem. Olsen's work has been marked by a deep engagement with the Australian landscape, and he has lived for long periods in different parts of the country and travelled widely in it. He has served on the boards of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Art Gallery.
His artworks include the Lake Eyre series and more recent works such as Golden Summer, and the Clarendon'. One of Olsen's most successful murals, Salute to Five Bells, is currently hung in the Sydney Opera House. Although he has been labelled as an abstract artist, Olsen rejects this accusation, stating, "I have never painted an abstract painting in my life". He describes his work as "an exploration of the totality of landscape".
He won the 2005 Archibald Prize for his portrait Self portrait Janus Faced.
He lives near Bowral, New South Wales.