Australian Galleries, 1975; thence to the current owner
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Edge of the Void, 1975
gouache on paper
100.00 x 190.00
signed and dated l.r.
John Olsen 74-75 Edge of the Void and Opera House Mural Studies, Australian Galleries, 26 August – 9 September, 1975
Deborah Hart, John Olsen, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1991, see p 133-138 for the extensive discussion of what would later be known as the 'Lake Eyre' series of paintings and works on paper of which this work is one.
The series was set in motion by the heavy rains that had flooded the lake in 1974, and which Olsen visited with Vincent Serventy the following year. It was his first contact with central Australia and had a profound effect on both his understanding of and his feel for the landscape - and consequently on his art. The subject provided inspiration for at least five years. The word 'Void' occurs in several paintings of the series and plays a role in our reading of the work(s): it could be either the Eastern or the Western notion of being and nothingness, since both agree that the nothingness has a paradoxically active presence - particularly for the Western existentialists for whom it can be felt as a threat to their being. Olsen would see this symbolically as the lake dried up: if the water brought teeming life to a sterile salt pan, it later brought death to much of the resulting wildlife.
The 1970s saw the artist's works on paper expand dramatically in scale. 100 x 190 cm proved - both horizontally and vertically - workable, giving serious room to move and exercise his wristy calligraphy (as well as subliminally reminding us of the significance of the Orient). Edge of the Void is one of the few in horizontal format. He worked them all with characteristic aplomb on micro and macro scale, from the intimacy of ponds, to the spectacular aerial views of the Centre.
Further works by the Artist
Wollundry Lagoon, Wagga Wagga
gouache on paper, 97.00 x 58.00
Papageno (From Mozart's Magic Flute)
mixed media on paper, 31.00 x 23.00
View of the Western World series
oil on composition board, 127.50 x 91.00
colour etching on paper, 35/80, 44.00 x 60.00
oil on canvas, 167.00 x 213.00
oil on composition board, 122.60 x 91.40
lithograph on paper, edition 16/20, 45.00 x 59.00
Avocet & Leaf
etching on paper, 40.50 x 29.50
oil on board, 91.00 x 121.00
Frog in the Rain
etching on paper, 60.00 x 50.00
watercolour and gouache on paper, 25.00 x 50.00
Since its establishment in 1984, the Charles Nodrum Gallery’s exhibition program embraces a diversity of media and styles - from painting, sculpture & works on paper to graphics and photography; from figurative, geometric, gestural, surrealist & social comment to installation & conceptually based work.