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NG Art is proud to represent the holistic and optimistically complex world of prolific artist Bernard Ollis, Director of the National Art School in Sydney. As public figure in this controversial role, Ollis seeks to stimulate, guide and inspire his students and staff in an environment that continues to honour the craft of practical, technical application. In his private world of the studio, Ollis reflects this passion. Recording the human paradox he draws on his own challenging paradigm as Director and Artist. This exhibition concerns itself with what it is to be human: the "comedy humane", Ollis conveys his profound belief in people, while commenting on humanity's rich yet rewarding dichotomy.

'Incognito' depicts the stage, the place of costumes, dressing up, the idea of "becoming someone else", exaggerated and distorted characters revealing the psychology of the people portrayed. On a technical level the paintings work with textures, surfaces, marks and heaviness of touch to create tonal variations. The paintings express a level of confidence, a rush of adrenalin, the thrill of being on stage: bright lights, action, movement, colour, sexual and sensual by nature, the fairground becomes a metaphor for fun, sadness, escape: a platform for what is not usually so obvious in the human experience; Ollis opens it up for interpretation with an intuitive eye on the perennially fascinating place of people's presence in their world.

A complex duality is set up in his paintings, multi dimensional themes are explored that steer the viewer into realms that touch the human spirit, in an immediate and layered effect that reflects a robust struggle inherent in the human experience. His paintings depict scenes that are as relevant now as they have ever been: eternal themes that transcend time and that are "statements beyond the moment". Deliberate emotive statements in Ollis's paintings are designed to demand a response: to engage, to stimulate, to provoke the individual and in doing so to give the viewer clues and cues which allow for a personal space and time with the work.

In this way the paintings offer hope and encouragement, an engagement fostered not rushed: a sense of anticipation and sustainability that good art affords. Ollis's works are like close friends, to spend time with them is to discover more meaning, connections and values. Is Ollis himself caught between his role as public custodian of a substantial vision, the National Art School and his private ephemeral notion of himself as an artist?

For further information, please email ng@ngart.com.au

The Glebe | Apr 2008

The Daily Telegraph | Apr 2008

NG Art Gallery and Mission Restaurant are proud to announce that they will be hosting a number of 'Feast for the Senses' dinners for the duration of Bernard Ollis's 'Incognito' exhibition. Join us in a celebration of art, food and wine. The first will be held in association with the AGSNSW, on Tuesday 15 April 2008, for more details click here.

Dates for the other 'Feast for the Senses' dinners are:
22 April 2008 "In conversation with Bernard Ollis and Wendy Sharpe"

29 April 2008 "In conversation with Bernard Ollis and John McDonald."
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