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May 9, 2021

Capon to open Olley show

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Former longtime director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Edmund Capon, will officially open the Margaret Olley exhibition at the Tweed River Art Gallery in Murwillumbah on Friday, a show which has already drawn huge crowds since it went on show there last month.

Mr Capon, a trustee of the Margaret Olley Trust and good friend of the late artist, will join an expected full house for the gala event from 6pm organised by Friends of the Gallery.

The exhibition, called ‘It’s all about the light: works by Margaret Olley from public collections’, showcases 48 paintings of still life and interiors, a theme she was passionate about and famed for, drawn from the public collections of national, state and regional galleries.

It’s the first time the works have all been shown together, a proud achievement for the gallery as it prepares for its much-anticipated extension to house the purpose-built Margaret Olley Art Centre.

The centre, expected to be built by year’s end, will include a recreation of rooms from Olley’s well-known Paddington home, which she lived and painted prolifically in since 1964.

The exhibition, which includes artefacts from Olley’s house, has drawn visitors from far and wide, with almost 2,000 people seeing it in its first week on show.

Gallery director Susi Muddiman said she expected the centre to be open to the public by February next year, which also coincides with the tenth anniversary opening of the gallery at its south Murwillumbah site.

Ms Muddiman said the exhibition of the works, created between 1955 and 2008, would not have been possible without the generosity of the lenders, which included galleries from Geelong to Cairns, and logistical support from International Art Services.

She said it was fitting to mount the exhibition ‘as a prelude to the gallery’s re-creation of her ambient, eclectic, abundant and absorbing home studio’.

‘Olley painted many works in this much-loved space, chasing the light from room to room through the seasons. It was this obsession with light, as well as the careful placement of objects in space, which created the warmth of character that has become synonymous with Olley and her practice.’

The exhibition will run until Sunday, April 14.

And for those interested in learning more about Olley and her Paddington home, an in-conversation session with Olley’s trustee and friend Christine France and project coordinator Sally Watterson will be held at the gallery on Friday, March 1, 6pm–8pm.

The two will discuss the process involved in packing Olley’s home studio to relocate to Murwillumbah.

Tickets are $30 and bookings essential. Contact the gallery on 6670 2790.


In a story in Echonetdaily last Wednesday, February 6, it was stated that the gallery’s proposed new cafe pavilion extension would cost around $400,000, when in fact it is costed at around $200,000.

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