b. 1976, Australia

Oliver Watts Biography

Oliver Watts is a contemporary Australian artist, art historian, and curator who works a variety of media to question the nexus of art and law. In his work Watts uncovers the frameworks of power that underpin our society in a range of topics from sports to law and religion to racial violence. 

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The Barrès Trial

Since 2008, Oliver Watts has archived and translated the 1921 Dada's Trial of Maurice Barrès, a mock trial in which a dummy of the right-wing writer was prosecuted by Dada in Paris. Watts presented his translation at the Glasgow AAH conference in 2010, and worked with actor Toby Schmitz to produce a series of video performances that explore the Barrès Trials' poetry. In 2011, the artist finalised the series with paper-cut collage animation and exhibition.

Australian Law

Watts has also explored the question of the competing sovereignties in Australian law. His interests range from the geopolitics of landscape painting to portraiture, to aping and satirising colonial myths to cartoon and caricature (The Chaser Newspaper). Solo exhibitions Three Suns (2010) and The Studio of Kafka's Painter (2011) at Melbourne's Helen Gory used painting and performance to explore these issues.

Education and Galleries

Oliver Watts holds a Bachelor of Arts (1998) and a Bachelor of Law (2001), both Honours, from Sydney University, where he also received his PhD in art history and theory (2010). Between 2003 and 2012, Watts was the co-director of Chalk Horse Gallery and Half Dozen Projects.

Exhibitions

Solo exhibitions include Sweet is the Swamp, THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne (2021); The Retreat, Chalk Horse, Sydney (2020); Stone Blue, Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne (2013); The Elevator's Song, Ecosse Gallery, Exeter (2011); Wattle, The Space, Hong Kong (2011); I am Tristan Tzara, Chalk Horse, Sydney (2010).

Selected group exhibitions include Laugh Out Loud, La Trobe Regional Gallery, Gippsland (2013); Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted, Chalk Horse, Sydney (2011); Smoking Guns, Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong (2009).

Oliver Watts Featured Artworks

View All (15)
Elle in the Rain by Oliver Watts contemporary artwork painting
Oliver Watts Elle in the Rain, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
91 x 121 cm
THIS IS NO FANTASY Contact Gallery
The Thorn 2 by Oliver Watts contemporary artwork painting
Oliver Watts The Thorn 2, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
91 x 121 cm
THIS IS NO FANTASY Contact Gallery
Camille in the Swamp by Oliver Watts contemporary artwork painting
Oliver Watts Camille in the Swamp, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
183 x 213 cm
THIS IS NO FANTASY Contact Gallery
Paperbark Swamp by Oliver Watts contemporary artwork painting
Oliver Watts Paperbark Swamp, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
183 x 213 cm
Sold
THIS IS NO FANTASY
The Ibis Wading (after Nolan) by Oliver Watts contemporary artwork painting
Oliver Watts The Ibis Wading (after Nolan), 2021 Acrylic on canvas
183 x 213 cm
Sold
THIS IS NO FANTASY
Paperbark swamp (Centennial Park) by Oliver Watts contemporary artwork painting
Oliver Watts Paperbark swamp (Centennial Park), 2021 Acrylic on canvas
183 x 213 cm
Sold
THIS IS NO FANTASY
Sweet is the Swamp by Oliver Watts contemporary artwork painting
Oliver Watts Sweet is the Swamp, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
213 x 183 cm
THIS IS NO FANTASY Contact Gallery
The Thorn by Oliver Watts contemporary artwork painting
Oliver Watts The Thorn, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
183 x 213 cm
THIS IS NO FANTASY Contact Gallery

Oliver Watts Recent Exhibitions

Oliver Watts Represented By

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