Music inspired by art

Throughout history, artists, musicians and performers have inspired each other. Artistic exchange can open up new ways of thinking, be an influential source of inspiration, or provide a spark that simply moves you, without explanation. Brisbane-based contemporary classical group Nonsemble composed three pieces, inspired by the work of artists Margaret Olley, Ben Quilty and the…

Margaret Olley: A muse and artistic subject for others

Margaret Olley’s friendships with artists are chronicled in their pictures of her, such as William Dobell’s 1948 Archibald Prize–winning painting, works by Russell Drysdale and Jeffrey Smart and, much later, Ben Quilty’s 2011 Archibald Prize–winning portrait. No other subject has won the Archibald twice (self-portraits by Brett Whiteley and William Robinson aside), and the 63-year…

Margaret Olley: The subject is wildflowers

Painting flowers had long been considered a feminine subject. With the examples of Marian Ellis Rowan (1848–1922) and Margaret Preston (1875 1963) behind her, Margaret Olley (1923–2011) can be seen as part of the continuing tradition. But she was more than that. Still life and interior painting were significant genres during the 1930s for both…

Ian Fairweather commemorates Margaret Olley’s visit to Bribie Island

Ian Fairweather’s cryptically titled painting MO, PB and the ti-tree was first exhibited, though not for sale, at the Macquarie Galleries, Sydney in 1965, in an acclaimed exhibition that highlighted works from the ‘Drunken Buddha’ series, as well as other recent paintings. A beautiful fabric of planes [that] tremble and fluctuate, support or oppose the…

Margaret Olley: The subject is garden flowers

Margaret Olley, towards the end of her life, became one of the most affectionately regarded of Australian artists. Her still life and interior paintings attracted wide appreciation by the public. Although she produced landscapes and townscapes in the early part of her career, interiors and flower studies effectively dominated her production. Olley’s flower paintings in…