Monsters and Demons

National Exhibition Register

  • Vertigo
    Bernard Ollis Vertigo, 1994
    Oil on canvas
    165 x 246cm

About the exhibition

This exhibition is a solo survey of the imagined world of the established contemporary Australian artist Bernard Ollis.

These works have developed over a long period of time. The exhibition includes work from the 1970s (Royal College of Art, London) to the present day (Sydney, Australia). The exhibition analyses Ollis' imagined world from fears and premonitions, nightmares and uncertainties, to the exorcisms and triumphs. Monsters and Demons consists of large-scale oil paintings, and intimate small canvases and oil pastels on paper.

My work has been included in the collections of the Royal College of Art London, Australian Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), and the National Gallery of Victoria. In more recent times, my work has echoed my extensive travels, and artist residencies, with the subject reflecting the urban landscape. These more recent celebrations of cities, gardens and environments, are not however my entire oeuvre. Running parallel to this, almost in secret, has been the imagined world that I inhabit. The fears and psychological threats of life. These works may manifest from actual events, e.g. hospitals and funerals, or the imagined worlds of the backstreets, where you might hear echoing footsteps following you down broken pavements.

These images might appear under ripped posters advertising ‘the theatre of life’ and include vaudevilles, music halls, cabarets or circuses. The smoke and mirrors are all a part of the stage, in which transformational changes occur. Being incognito, changing identity, manipulating stringed puppets, or putting papier-mache masks over your head in order to change identity.

They might be vagabonds amongst harlots, temptations from every corner. All of these subjects, live somewhere in my head, and appear sometimes when I don’t want them to. I have painted these threats in a myriad of ways. Perhaps I am trying to exorcise them. They are the monsters and demons of my imagined world. I know they would make for a powerful and original exhibition. I am proposing this exhibition as I think it is particularly relevant to now in this world of fear, fake news and propaganda.

- Bernard Ollis


ABC’s 'One Plus One' interview with Jane Hutcheon:

'Talking with Painters' Podcast interview with Maria Stoljar: 


Please download exhibition proposal from Dropbox HERE

Artists and Curator

Bernard Ollis

Bernard Ollis

Please see website for cv:

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
01/06/2020 - 01/12/2021
Exhibition size
Between 50-75 sq or running metres
Originating state
Contact to discuss
Web Site
Accompanying materials available
Audio Descriptions, Catalogue/Book
Other materials
All hi-resolution images of works suggested for the exhibition are available on request. Open to exhibition curation by selected gallery curators.
Primary contact
Bernard Ollis
Secondary contact
Fredrika Mackenzie (assistant)
0403 403 250