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.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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).
Ocula | 2021