Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information

Help us improve our prizes database. Contact us if you have more information.

John Olsen

The tree of life
oil on canvas
152 x 182 cm
Further information

The centrality of everything for me is about what things actually feel like. My paintings are statements of empathy; statements about the feeling of being in the landscape. To be an Australian artist is to be an explorer – unlike artists in Europe where landscape painting has been manicured by genius artists, writers and musicians. This has not occurred in Australia besides the magnificent presence of Aboriginal art. Let us remember that before the Heidelberg School there had been no rendition of the unique Australian light. Neither had there been an acute observation of how the landscape actually looked. Aboriginal art had its profound focus on the Dreamtime.

John Olsen, 2018