It’s not surprising that people have been flocking to Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) to see the new Margaret Olley exhibition, A Generous Life. Olley is one of Australia’s most loved artists, adored for her luminous, life-affirming paintings, particularly her signature still lifes.

Margaret Olley’s Lemons and Oranges, 1964, Oil on composition board 76.6 × 102cm, Purchased 1964, Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

The exhibition is the most comprehensive survey of her drawings and paintings ever assembled. What’s more it is beautifully displayed.

Olley famously disliked white walls. Thus, GOMA has painted the exhibition walls pale pink, green and grey. The central area has been constructed in the shape of a Queenslander, referencing her family’s Brisbane home, Farndon, and there are pieces of furniture around the gallery space that reflect Olley’s interiors.

The exhibition, which was developed by Michael Hawker, Curator, Australian Art, QAGOMA, features more than 100 paintings and drawings celebrating Olley’s colourful life and legacy, with sections highlighting her formative years in Brisbane, her enduring love of travel, her passion for portraiture, still life and interiors, as well as acknowledging her generosity to other artists and the...

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