Sydney, a city of more than five million people,
FROM THE LAND is the largest in Australia and the financial hub of the country.
Many people think of Australia as a British settlement, but beginning in the 1950s,
waves of immigrants from Greece, Italy, Lebanon, China, Vietnam, and Eastern Europe arrived.
It is this intersection of cultures that makes Sydney one of my favorite cities on the planet and inspires a sensibility of color and form for the artists who choose this city as their place to create.
Sydney also has a lively central business district and world-class cultural institutions as well as more than 100 stunning beaches,
which give the city a funky surf culture and endless opportunity for inspiring views.
I am fortunate enough to travel to Sydney twice a year with my husband, Tearlach, and two-year-old son, Lachlan, to visit my family.
While I am there, I have made a commitment to educate myself about the vibrant Sydney art scene through museum and studio visits,
FROM THE LANDand by timing our trips with the Biennale of Sydney and the Sydney Contemporary art fair.
During my visit this spring, I had the pleasure of visiting two Sydney-based artists: Stephen Ormandy and Gemma Smith.
As I approached the multilevel building on Elizabeth Street in the Redfern neighborhood, where Stephen Ormandy’s studio is situated,
the first thing I noticed through the window was colorful resin jewelry and other objects.
Ormandy is one half of the partnership that makes up Dinosaur Designs.
His wife, Louise Olsen, is the daughter of one of Australia’s most important painters, John Olsen.
Louise Olsen and Ormandy started the jewelry and houseware company together after meeting in college, and it has since become a leading design brand.
Alongside his work with Dinosaur Designs, Ormandy has also maintained an active studio practice of painting and object making.
He greeted me at the door and led me up to the third floor, where he has a beautiful but simple workspace with loads of natural light and just the right amount of city noise.
Though this was our second time to meet—we were introduced
in Dallas through a mutual artenthusiast friend—this was my first time to see his work in person.
There is something to be said for bold, colorful, elegant paintings.
As we looked at the paintings and sculptures in progress, we talked about his love for surfing and the landscape, elements that reveal themselves upon closer inspection of the work.
His approach to painting is a study in color and form.
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