Bernard Ollis is one of those painters who elude easy categorization. This is at best a mixed blessing, because art historians love to be able to define an artist as an expressionist, a realist, a surrealist, or some plausible combination. Ollis is a little of each, but ultimately none of the above. He is a figurative painter, but like most established artists is willing to admit that all art is abstract. He is a painter of people, but with none of the angst and pessimism that seem to be standard features of those artists who spend their careers studying the Human Condition. There is a lot of humour in Ollis's work, but none of the smug, all-pervasive irony beloved of the Postmodernists. He is, in short, an awkward proposition, and his paintings revel in a kind of studied awkwardness.
- John McDonald, Art Critic of the Sydney Morning Herald
Ollis arrived in Australia after graduating from London’s Royal College of Art at the age of 25 where he was tutored by the likes of David Hockney and Sir Peter Blake. He is winner of the Conrad Jupiter Art Prize, Gold Coast and the John Minton Art Prize, London. He has also been finalist on several occasions for the Sulman, Moran and Dobell Drawing prizes. He has been awarded artist residencies across the globe - from Paris, to Malta, Egypt, China and Antarctica. Well respected as the Director of the National Art School in Sydney (a position which he held for over 10 years) his paintings can be found in 24 prestigious collections the world over, including the Royal College of Art in London, the NGV in Melbourne, the NGA and Parliament House in Canberra. He now lives between Paris and Sydney.