Monday, September 14, 2015

Margaret Olley Art Centre

The Margaret Olley Art Centre (MOAC) at the Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah is a remarkable space.

MOAC celebrates the career, life and legacy of its namesake, Margaret Olley, AC (24 June 1923 – 26 July 2011) – Australia’s most celebrated painter of still life and interiors.

Apart from beautiful paintings by Olley, there are audio-visual stations that give a terrific context to her life and work.  Text, visuals and interviews provide a great deal of information about this extraordinary woman, one of our most well-loved painters.

Perhaps the most captivating representation is at the heart of the space.  Rooms from the home of the artist were photographed and catalogued, deconstructed, moved from Sydney and reconstructed within the gallery itself.  The windows and doors are the actual ones from her house.   You can gaze in from vantage points and see the rooms as they existed.  It is a very special experience.

From the gallery booklet:  “She loved to paint and collect things.  She is well known for her paintings of interiors and still life. She never had a separate studio, but painted inside her home and in her friends’ homes…  She collected books, ornaments, sculptures from other countries and sometimes funny bits and pieces.  She didn’t like throwing things away in case she needed them again or wanted to paint them.”  

The rooms are a treasure-trove of furniture, dried flowers, glassware, artworks, paint and paint brushes … every nook and cranny crammed with domestic things and the unusual, obviously the result of a massive accumulation over the years. (Minimalists and de-clutterers would have palpitations at the sight!)

Don’t forget to put a visit to the Tweed Regional Gallery on your list of things to do if you are visiting northern New South Wales.  Sit on the balcony and enjoy one of the most glorious settings of any regional gallery.  Then enjoy wandering through the marvellous exhibitions and the very special Margaret Olley collection.

Boroondara Library Service has an extensive range of art books. Have a look at some of the books in the library about this amazing artist, including:


Margaret Olley  by Christine France.

Margaret Olley by Barry Pearce.


Written by Carol.

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