Oliver Watts is an artist, curator and writer who works primarily as a painter. Watts’ paintings are rich in allusions from popular culture to the long history of painting and its various genres (portraiture, landscape, still life etc). His images borrow, steal and reuse visual culture. His work is contemporary in the way everything is equivalent and brought into play. He often stages reenactments of literature or art history using actors and other collaborators. The artifice of the image is also embodied by his gestural style of painting, mosaic-like and languid. Permeating his works is the Australian landscape, the heat of the sun, the crunch of the forests and the deafening sound of cicadas. Watts’ paintings are baroque, seductive, rich and complex.
Watts taught contemporary art at SCA, University of Sydney, between 2011-2017. He holds and MFA in painting and a PhD in art history and jurisprudence from the University of Sydney. He has been a finalist in many prizes including the Archibald Prize and the Helen Lempriere Travelling Scholarship. He is held in the National Museum of Australia, Artbank and the Reserve Bank collections. He was a founding member of the Chaser as a cartoonist and illustrator.