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The red room

Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 91.5 x 91.5 cms 
Date: 2000 Signed lower right.
Condition: Good

Provenance - Private collection Sydney, NSW Country private collection.

CHG Director's Statement: I was fortunate to meet Margaret initially through my friend and gallery exhibitor Tony White, jeweller, who died recently. We had dinner on the verandah at the Exchange hotel, Hamilton, Newcastle after the launch of an exhibition featuring pearls Tony had launched earlier that the evening.
To say Olley was the life of the party/dinner is an understatement! At that time she was one of only a few Australian women artist living who possessed a national
reputation, other notables being Judy Cassab, etc.
I had visited Margaret at her then Paddington home on two occasions firstly to show her art and to discuss a forthcoming exhibition at Cook Hill Galleries the second time to join her for lunch and conversation. Her interiors were like Aladdin’s cave with an array of decorative items, paintings hers and a collection of other artist on the wall, ornaments, dried flower arrangements and fresh flowers on the table. The rooms needed to be navigate rather than walked with an eye catching
‘pot pouri ‘of everything no doubt in its place but in abundance. Margaret’s subject matter was primarily interiors and or still life or flower arrangement. It was about developing a composition enriched with shapes, colour, flowers, furniture focusing on colour balance all the time.
Olley’s two themes favoured by the market place involve still life with ‘Cornflowers’ featured within the painting, and her ‘interiors’, complete with a montage of objects in the room on the floor, wall and reference to an adjacent room or window.
Often light play was emphasised with a lamp light casting a warmth of tone into a varying depth room. A similar effect she used with light from an exterior window dancing across drapes and into the room.
‘The Red room’ immediately falls into this second category, the warmth of the composition is extensive, light and shadows criss crossing left to right and into the far room. The light emanates from the ceiling and passes to the floor inviting the
viewer to walk from one room to the other. The perspective is what appeals to me inviting me back to the sitting room window revealing a back yard and garden. The hint of blue sky accelerates the viewers eye to travel into the depth of the
painting, it appears to be telescopic! As to its size, it is an accommodating and larger oil painting than many by the artist with a well balance frame to offset the
paintings complexities.
It was previously located in a house, probably built in the 1920’s to 1930’s, hung over a fireplace. It completely made the ambience of the lounge room.
A well know interior subject matter painting titled ‘Yellow room’ has some similarities however I feel this is a superior painting.
Perhaps I put that down to the perspective the painting possesses, the furniture and objects all balanced somehow or a seduction of the red tones which all but glows. It is a room that hold one’s attention and I find it invites me to
explore everything within those walls. As such I would describe this painting as sumptuous and why wouldn’t you want to stay a while with all it’s treasures to


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The red room