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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Murwillumbah and Margaret Olley...

After our little visit to Chillingham last Sunday, we headed to Murwillumbah to visit some friends and then go with them to the Tweed Regional Art Gallery in this town on the Tweed River.
Driving into town...

 Being Sunday morning, the streets were quiet...
 A glimpse of our friends' charming home...

As we had planned to have lunch at the Art Gallery our friend rang to check whether we needed to have booked a table. Good job Trish is well known at the Gallery as the cafe staff were able to book us in but not until 1.30...the cafe was very, very busy! The Gallery is in a lovely setting; it has had extensions added since last time DH and I visited.

 In the middle of the photo, Mt Warning can be seen beyond the trees...

 A bit of a 'zoom in' on Mt Warning...



 Apparently an average of 800 people per day attend the Gallery...many are in bus tours. 
So what is the attraction? One name...Margaret Olley. The late Margaret Olley was a much loved Aussie artist and some rooms of her house in Sydney have been recreated in the Margaret Olley Centre in this Art Gallery. As well as the rooms, there are paintings of hers on display that have been borrowed from private owners...these change on a fairly regular basis. The story goes, according to locals, that Margaret Olley offered the nearby town of Lismore  money to set up the Centre but their gallery was too small and they apparently were reticent to extend or build a new complex to house it...so Murwillumbah 'jumped at the chance'... Olley chose Lismore first, as it was where she had been born. 
The Sydney home of Olley consisted of a terrace house and an old hat factory. She did not have a studio as such but prefered to paint in locations around her house...




Recreation of the outside of her home...


The rooms...
This photo is looking through glass...lots of items which were used in many of her paintings...
Lots of books, artificial flowers, ornaments, china...every space and surface filled!


Many of the flowers were in her paintings

Many of the jugs, green glass etc, featured also in her paintings...

A beautiful statue
There were containers holding tubes of paint all over the place :-)

The smaller room in the exhibition was known as the Yellow Room and was Margaret Olley's favourite room. It features a lot in her paintings...

Apparently Olley liked to buy art posters when she travelled...

Lots of these posters in the Yellow Room
 Not all my photos of the kitchen turned out but I have a few...

Margaret loved to cook for friends...she also painted in the kitchen and hopefully the tubes of paint never ended up in the meals! It all looked a bit of a jumble! lol

From the Margaret Olley Centre exhibit we walked out on to another balcony to admire the view...
DH with our friends Peter and Trish.

We were very fortunate that Trish is a volunteer guide at the gallery, so she filled us in on a lot of background to not only the Margaret Olley Centre, but also to the works of Rew Hanks and his clever linocuts with their clever satire and parody. We also saw the finalists' works of 'Faces from the Future' a competition opened to local school students and we also checked out the Caldera Art Exhibition.
One little bit of background that Trish told us was that Margaret Olley's nieces were asked whether the recreation of the rooms in their aunt's home were an accurate representation. They said no...they explained that the exhibition was much tidier than their aunt's home :-) 

6 comments:

Nanette said...

Lovely post on my home town Maria, it's true, much busier during the week. My naughty daughter said my home looks a lot like Margaret Olley's, just sewing things instead of paints. It's not true!!

Sharmayne said...

Thanks for the lovely visit to Murwillumbah..... I especially loved getting to see the view of Mt Warning...... it brought back memories of me walking to the top of it a number of times with youth group and school outings from the Gold Coast where I used to live during my teenage years.

Cynthia said...

How interesting, to display the artist's whole house because she painted everywhere! And how fun to see the actual objects she used in her paintings. I really enjoyed this post.

Cynthia said...

I know little about Australian art and had never heard of Olley. Just looked up her paintings and I LOVE them! They do look just like her house.
I started teaching about the same time as you and retired a year ago September. I taught English -- British Lit and composition/writing at the high school level. What did you teach?

Lin said...

What a fascinating house it must have been. So much to look at - I do like a bit of clutter! xx

Fat Dormouse said...

I haven't heard of Margaret Olley, but I googled her...I love her paintings: so vibrant and colourful. I think my house is in danger of descending into the glorious state of Olley's house - but without the excuse of creative genius!