Margaret Olley’s Duxford Street property was her home, her studio and the subject matter for her paintings for almost 50 years. Sometimes the interiors were merely the backdrop to a still life painting, for which she would arrange and re-arrange objects from her dense collection of ‘things’. At other times it was the interiors themselves that were the subject matter.
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre Photo Gallery
The blue kitchen, the green kitchen, the yellow room, the hat factory interiors (garden room, dining area, sitting room) were rendered in changing light – luminous in in the morning light, cosy and cavernous in the evening – the rooms were re-visioned to capture particular, ? eeting moments in time. Within these spaces, she orchestrated ordinary, everyday objects to convey an extraordinary, yet humble sense of humanity. Her paintings speak of everyday life. The turn of a chair, a pen on a sideboard, an open drawer – each subtle nuance suggestive and ripe with possibilities – perhaps of an un? nished conversation lingering in the room. The door is left open and we are invited in.
The Duxford Street home studio re-creation is the perfect portrait of Olley, revealing much to us about her character and what shaped her world and the life that she lived, dedicated to art and friendship. While Olley was a quite a sociable person with great friends and connections in the artworld and beyond, only three of her artist friends had the opportunity to make their own work in Olley’s Duxford Street home studio – Justin O’Brien, Cressida Campbell and Nicholas Harding. Numerous photographers captured Olley’s portrait in the space.
This exhibition includes William Yang’s 1992 photographic portrait of Olley for in which he captures a large proportion of an interior view of her unique home studio space – alluding to the inextricable link between Olley and her home studio. Duxford Street Interiors includes artworks by each of these artists as well as photographs by Greg Weight and Steven Alderton, who photographed Olley’s home studio in the weeks following her death in 2011. Through each of these works we can see the beauty and character of her home studio via each artist’s highly distinguishable vision. Seeing these interpretations alongside the home studio re-creation gives us a special insight into the alchemy each artist brings to the subject matter and medium.
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