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Bernard Ollis ,who is a figurative artist and finds inspiration in the human form, has had a long arts career. He gained his Master of Art in painting at the Royal College of Art, London in 1976, and was the director of the National Art School in Sydney 1998–2009.
This exhibition titled “Paris and Other Stories”, is full of fun. People of all ages will like these character-filled and scenic artworks. Most are painted and drawn from a different perspective. Some look like they have been painted through the view of a fish-eye lens or perhaps from a Frank Gehry view of the world, who designs buildings based on unusual shapes.
Ollis does something unique with his signature; he signs his paintings in different places, such as the sides of buildings, on posters, on bridges and one work that is a view of one of those fabulous Parisian cafes, the name of the eatery is Restaurant Bernard.
Most artworks in this exhibition are views of Paris, but there are images painted in Australia, Cairo and even from Times Square in New York City. Almost all works are on paper, but there are a few on canvases. There are 55 in total.
“The Seine at Night” is a large work on canvas, and it particularly catches the spirit and mood of the city of lights. This multi-coloured reflective work is a fascinating view of a special place in the world. Ollis’ paintings that have images of water in them are acutely effective. He captures the tone, the movement and reflections from water so well. The seine in Paris never looked as beautiful as it does in some of his works.
The small, coloured etchings grab the viewers’ attention. They reminded me of litho prints and had a strong contrast, which makes them stand out. All these works are full of light and brightness, and they fill the upbeat and attractive art space that is the Aarwun Gallery.
This exhibition will give most people joy and, if you have been to Paris, it will bring back many memories. Ollis clearly loved his time there and it shows in these character-filled, sunny artworks.