News Archive

Montmartre Stairwell_oil-pastel-on-arches_60x42

Montmartre Stairwell_oil pastel on arches 60x42cm

'From the Studio' - Harvey Galleries

Sept 2021.


This is a collection of works under 5K, were available exclusively online.


“These works are a small, hand-picked selection from the small paintings and pastels I have created in my studio. They are intimate and private observations, often of my travels, sometimes made on the spot (plein air), sometimes reinvented from my imagination. Many of these works are being exhibited for the first time, and as such, are important first developments which may lead to major works in the future.”
Bernard Ollis.


The Artists' Garden (with currawongs

The Artists' Garden (with currawongs), 100x154cm, Oil on Belgian linen

'Primaveral' Mitchell Fine Art - Brisbane

Sept/Oct 2020


Bernard’s latest series, inspired by artists and their gardens, was started in 2019. As 2020 unfolded, we understood even more fully the important roll gardens play. The painting that will show in the group exhibition 'Primaveral' at Mitchell Fine Art, is a painting of Bernard and Wendy's own garden. The Artists' Garden (with currawongs) presents a view that they both enjoy everyday.


Monets Studio and Garden-Giverny France, 183x153cm

Monets Studio and Garden-Giverny France, 183x153cm, Oil on Belgian linen

Artists' Gardens Series - Harvey Galleries

PART 1: Exhibition Ran in MAY 2020

PART 2: Exhibition RAN IN mar/ APR 2021


The successful two part exhibitions form part of in series showcasing Bernard’s homage to artists and their gardens, where nature is their sanctuary. The works were hung and viewed on a live facebook feed with Bernard and Trevor Harvey at the Mosman Gallery exhibition. If you missed the live feed you can find out more about this two part exhibition and it's paintings, from the following special interview between Richard Morecroft and Bernard Ollis.



Over many years, Bernard has visited the gardens and studios of Henri Mattise, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet and has made drawings and paintings based upon those experiences. In Australia, Bernard has produced a number of works on the home and garden he shares with his partner Wendy Sharpe. He has also visited the Whiteley garden, the studio/garden of Elizabeth Cummings, and Guy Warren to name a few. All will feature, including some impressive large canvases in this Harvey Galleries two part exhibition.


Riad Courtyard Fez 41x51 oil on belgian linen

Riad Courtyard Fez 41x51cm oil on belgian linen

Wendy Sharpe folding sketchbook from exhibition 'Elsewhere'

A Folding sketchbook by Wendy Sharpe from the exhibition 'Elsewhere'

ELSEWHERE: Travels through Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Iran and Central Asia

A touring Exhibition During 2018 to 2020

Wendy Sharpe and Bernard Ollis create art in response to humanity. During their extensive journeys, they created sketchbooks, drawings and paintings to record conversations and chance meetings with people from all walks of life. These works will introduce you to real people from distant nations, casting aside orientalism to reveal authentic encounters.

This exhibition sees the world through the unique intimacy of the sketch. It reflects upon individual experiences of travel in an era shaped by photography and global media. It is a perceptive journey through people and places that have been clouded by misapprehension.

The exhibition visited Glasshouse Regional Gallery in 2019 who produced the short (1min 24sec) introduction video (see below), coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Edward Said's book Orientalism. The exhibition is thoughtfully curated by Dr Sam Bowker with the support of Create NSW, HR Gallop Gallery and Charles Sturt University.


Highlights of 2019

  • Bernard started the year with two major solo exhibitions, 'Paris and other Stories' (Aarwun Galleries, Canberra) and 'The Traveller' (Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane) both were received well commercially and critically.
  • Bernard did an important interview with Jane Hutcheons for ABC's 'One Plus One' series revealing much about Bernard's formative years in the UK. Link to interview:
  • Heading to his Paris studio for the second part of the year, Ollis launched into several months of touring including an artist in residency via Chimu Adventures to Svalbard (about 1000km from the North Pole) where he exhibited, the money raised going to the Mawson's Hut Antarctic Charity.
  • Ollis had a major solo exhibition ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (The Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, UK) for July - September.
  • He continued to work the end of the year in his Paris studio and was the tour leader for Renaissance Tours visiting the Côte D'Azur - a cruise from Arles to Lyons, culminating in a tour of Paris galleries with his partner Wendy Sharpe.
  • Regional Touring exhibition 'Elsewhere' continues into 2020 in such places as Tamworth and Dubbo.
  • Ollis has just had a successful exhibition with Linton and Kay (Subiaco Gallery, Perth) for November - December. He is presently working in his Sydney studio for his upcoming exhibitions in 2020.


Department store Paris

Department Store - Paris 59x42cm Oil pastel on Arches rag

RECENT WORKS - Linton & Kay (Subiaco Gallery)

9 Nov to 1 Dec 2019

Opening and Floor Talk - Thur 14 NoV

Returning after several months touring and working in Paris, Bernard has selected a range of works for this exhibition with a French flavour.


The Aquarium

Ceramic Series - The Aquarium

CONNECTIONS: Art & Collaboration - Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

OCT/Dec 2019

Focusing on renowned visual artists Bernard Ollis, Wendy Sharpe, Ann Smith and Ian Smith, this exhibition delves into the intriguing creative relationships essential to the production of collaborative work. The painter and the potter, the drafter and the printer, each artist bringing their individual skills to the table to produce works greater than the sum of the parts.

While the practical benefits of working together on complex artworks are obvious, the creative process of art making also lends itself to partnership. Working through the many demands of bringing an idea to realisation requires a resilient relationship in which elucidation, conciliation, stubbornness, and shared respect exists in equal measure. Often, this can result in firm, life-long friendships such as those of the four artists that are the focus of this exhibition. A Blue Mountains City Art Gallery exhibition


Sydney Gardens Series - Kennet and Avon Canal 46x36cm Oil on Belgian Linen

Sydney Gardens Series - Kennet and Avon Canal 46x36cm Oil on Belgian Linen

A TALE OF TWO CITIES - The Victoria Art Gallery, Bath UK

JULY/Sept 2019

Bernard returns to his birthplace and to The Victoria Art Gallery where, as a boy he was so regularly able to view paintings by acclaimed and influential artists. In his work for this exhibition he has cast a fresh eye over some of his favourite parts of two of the world's most beautiful cities, Bath and Paris.


From the exhibition Paris and other Stories

'Paris and Other Stories' - Aarwun Gallery


Paris and Other Stories is a vibrant collection of paintings by artist Bernard Ollis, depicting his playful and idiosyncratic view of some of the world’s most beloved cities; Paris, Sydney, London and New York, amongst a host of others. Ollis captures beautifully the romance of these cities with paintings saturated in colour - vibrating with humanity, humour and narrative.

Ollis arrived in Australia after graduating from London’s Royal College of Art at the age of 25 where he was tutored by the likes of David Hockney and Sir Peter Blake. He is winner of the Conrad Jupiter Art Prize, Gold Coast and the John Minton Art Prize, London. He has also been finalist on several occasions for the Sulman, Moran and Dobell Drawing prizes. He has been awarded artist residencies across the globe - from Paris, to Malta, Egypt, China and Antarctica. Well respected as the Director of the National Art School in Sydney (a position which he held for over 10 years) his paintings can be found in 24 prestigious collections the world over, including the Royal College of Art in London, the NGV in Melbourne, the NGA and Parliament House in Canberra. He now lives between Paris and Sydney.

This extraordinary exhibition will open to a private audience on Saturday 9 September 6:00pm with a conversation between the artist Bernard Ollis and seasoned storyteller and journalist John Hockney, brother of the famed British artist David Hockney. Join us for this very special evening which will feature a curious insight in to the origin, career and travels of this exceptional international artist.

Aarwun Gallery 2017


Bernard Ollis self portrait after Matisse 2017

Ollis self portrait at Salon des Refusés - S.H.Ervin Gallery

JULY 3017

Bernard's - Self portrait after Matisse has been closen to hang in the Salon des Refusés at The National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney.

The Salon des Refusés follows the tradition made famous by Napoleon lll in Paris. He insisted that the huge number of works which had been rejected by the Academy for that year’s Salon, be displayed for the public to view and judge. The very first Salon des Refusés included works by Manet and Pissarro.


Eagle Street Pier Brisbane Oil Pastel 57x76cm

'Observations' - MITCHELL FINE ART


(The Creative Issue 19 May 2017)
Bernard Ollis’ exhibition Observations at Mitchell Fine Art Gallery follows his style of colourful mysterious worlds.

Streetscapes inspired by Brisbane, Paris, Morocco and London draw in the viewer. A snapshot in time and a visual representation of days spent admiring viewpoints and happenings in a certain locale. Ollis’ works are continuously a flamboyant and colourful interlude to our day.
His works skew perspective to show the viewer more than the physical viewpoint, creating a memory of the emotional experience of a place rather than a true recollection. His compositional balance is intuitive and leads viewers gaze up, around and through the work. A never-ending journey of curves and details.  For, as Bernard himself agrees, Fine Art never reveals everything in the first viewing.
Bernard is an artist who supports art for art’s sake. This creative freedom is evident on the joy and colour of his works. His use of oil pastels allows him an immediacy of work and rework. Here, there is a focus on optimism and possibility that is increasingly pertinent to the current arts scene
However, we bring our preconceptions to our interpretation of artworks and on this bright sunny day in Brisbane, I feel a chill. Viewed in the current mindset of the Australian public, with vast political upheaval and uncertain futures – the bright energy of these works stands in stark contrast. As I lament the current level of respect for visual arts, the fantastical works take on malicious undertones – teasing me with the memory of a better yesterday.
As I wander through the ‘Observations’ exhibition, I hope it is a prediction –  a foretelling of the bright, patterned future of Brisbane. The fervour of the works brings me boundless joy and the invitation to create my own story is appreciated. Viewed en masse, the works jump out from the white walls of Mitchell Fine Art Gallery with powerful impact.

(image above: Eagle Street Pier Brisbane Oil Pastel 57x76cm).

Exhibition - 'Observations' at Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane 2017


Exhibition - 'Observations' at Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane 2017


Exhibition - 'Observations' at Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane 2017 (above: images from the Exhibition).


Read more - (Interview) 17 May- The Creative Issue

Showing in Shanghai

September 2016

The above montage of photographs are from Bernard's Shanghai Arts Centre exhibition with Wendy Sharpe. The exhibition opened in September 2016 by the Australian Consular General, Shanghai, amid much interest and razamataz from Chinese TV and news media.
Exhibitions took place at the following venues:

2016 Run Ya Artspace Linyi.
2016 Cultural Exchange of Australia and China, Linyi Arts Centre Shandong.
2016 Storytelling about China - Shanghai Cultural Centre & Art Gallery China.


Visit Chinese news media, ArtExpress


Painting for Antarctica

September 2015

Special Guests Bernard Ollis, Wendy Sharpe, Andrew Denton, and Andrew Jackson joined the Chimu Adventures journey to South Georgia and Antarctica in 2014. They were retracing some of the highlights from Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-17) which became one of history's greatest survival stories.
Proceeds from this journey in 2014 and a special charity exhibition for 'Painting for Antarctica' at The Australian National Maritime Museum helped to raise funds for the Mawson's Huts Foundation. Bernard's paintings (courtesy of NG Art, 3 Little Queen St, Sydney) formed part of the exhibition Shackleton: Escape from Antarctica at the NAMM ending in April 2016.

Scale in Antarctica is extraordinary. It is impossible to understand the size of things in the distance.

Senior Curator at the NAMM Diana Fletcher interviewed Bernard Ollis and Wendy Sharpe about thier impressions of the frozen continent.

Download of view the illustrated 'signals' article (PDF 500kb)


The Mawson's Huts Foundation helps to conserve the historic huts at Cape Denison, which the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Douglas Mawson, used as its base for two years.

View website of Mawson's Huts Foundation) View website of Australian National Maritime Museum)


Le Regard de deux Australiens

June 2014

Bernard and partner Wendy Sharpe spend many months of each year in their atelier/apartment in Montmartre. It was fitting that in June 2014 they should hold a major exhibition in Paris.
The paintings in this exhibition were personal reflections upon the city of Paris, its architecture, its streets and its people.


Bernard and Wendy were delighted that despite his very busy schedule distinguished guest, The Australian Ambassador to France Mr Ric Wells was able to formally open the exhibition.
The exhibition ran from Monday 2nd to the Saturday 14th June 2014.

Download the invitation (English version PDF 718kb)