John Olsen
Salute to Cerberus 1965
oil on plywood
185.0 x 244.5 cm
TarraWarra Museum of Art collection
Gift of Eva Besen AO and Marc Besen AO 2001
© Courtesy of the artist

Pulse: Paintings by John Olsen 1961–2005

Past Exhibitions
29 May - 23 October 2005

Pulse: Paintings by John Olsen 1961–2005 reveals the life force of Olsen’s vision of the Australian landscape, with all of its richness and diversity, often seen from above or from within. The paintings selected here are uncompromising in the reality of their subject, bold in their harsh light—occasional relief offered only by the mellowing light that accompanies the time of day or the seasons.

This exhibition celebrates the work of one of our most distinguished artists.  ohn Olsen has contributed to our ability to see and think about the vast and ancient Australian continent, with an appreciation of the physical and metaphysical affinities the land holds for its indigenous peoples. Equipped with his love of poetry, he conveys all of this through pictorial language, which is at once instantly recognisable and surprising.

Gary Catalano once observed that Olsen’s radicalism came from his ability to play ‘havoc with our conventional aesthetic expectations’, that he challenges us to forge beyond our initial response and enter into the ‘vitality’ of his paintings. This is where the artist immerses himself with all other creatures as part of the profound landscape where he seeks to see both the macrocosm and microcosm simultaneously.

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