Actor Barry Otto celebrates his art exhibition opening with thespian friends | Otto: An Artists Life : Jan 19 – Feb 22

January 20, 2020

January 18th saw many of Australia’s film & TV industry descend to Stanmore to celebrate & toast iconic thespian Barry Otto’s exhibition opening at Belle Epoque Antiques.  This exhibition also coincided with his 80th Birthday.
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Actor Barry Otto celebrates his art exhibition opening with thespian friends | Otto: An Artists Life : Jan 19 – Feb 22

January 18th saw many of Australia’s film & TV industry descend to Stanmore to celebrate & toast iconic thespian Barry Otto’s exhibition opening at Belle Epoque Antiques.  This exhibition also coincided with his 80th Birthday.

The corner gallery hosted more than 250 people and was supported by Taylor’s Wines , Hawkes Brewing Company & Fiji Water.

Notable guests included: Gillian Armstrong, Neil Armfield, Nash Edgerton, Claudia Karvan, Dan Wyllie, Sarah Blasko, Anthony Lister, Hugh Stewart, Brendan Cowell, Krew Boylan and many more.

Otto: An Artists Life is a collection of original paintings and drawings spanning Barry’s lifetime many that have never been showcased before. A beautiful and definitive Retrospective inspired by his love for works by Pierre August Renoir, Lord Frederic Leighton and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Many would not know Barry started painting at 14 and has immersed himself in art his whole life.

The exhibition is open weekends or by appointment from Jan 19th- Feb 22 .

Paintings can be viewed as well as purchased via the Belle Epoque website.

Barry Otto (Artist) Biography

Barry (Baz) Otto says he always loved drawing, but it was when his godmother May Thompson discovered him at the age of 15 painting an exact copy of a Norman Lindsay water colour in her living room that his talent was recognised. May decided that he should study and he enrolled at Brisbane Technical College in a Fine Arts course, and had among his teachers Roy and Betty Churcher.

After completing this diploma, he began work as a commercial artist, and for many years was very successful in the Brisbane advertising world as a fashion illustrator and artist, particularly for Myer. His commercial work at this time was pen and ink, which led to his early black and white artwork, and later his “dry brush” work, the best known of which are his portraits of the actress Sarah Bernhardt.

After his career took the path of a professional actor, in the early 1970s, and he moved to Sydney, he continued to paint, and began doing water colours and held his first serious exhibition at the Bloomfield Gallery in Paddington, owned by Lin Bloomfield and Helen Glad who was ironically Norman Lindsay’s granddaughter.

Over the next 50 years Baz has always continued to paint in between acting engagements, moving into oils, and so began his obsession with late nineteenth century artists, particularly Lord Frederic Leighton and the Pre-Raphaelites, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, George Frederick Watts, Albert Moore and many others. He was also strongly influenced by the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Gustav Klimt and Gustav Moreau.

More recently he became enamoured by the work of Pierre-August Renoir, and spent a couple of years immersing himself in studying and copying Renoir’s masterpieces.

Baz has over the years exhibited regularly at Sydney galleries, but for the most part has painted purely for his own pleasure, and to give gifts to friends and fellow thespians.

Barry has also twice entered portraits of his daughter Miranda in the Archibald Prize and Doug Moran Competition, and has often been the subject of paintings by other artists including Paul Jackson, Kim Spooner and this year Anthony Lister whose portrait was hung in the Doug Moran Prize.

This exhibition of a lifetime of work has been encouraged and curated by Leigh Capel of Belle Epoque Gallery to celebrate the artist Barry Otto, and the opening will coincide with his birthday! And, like the artists he admires who painted into their extreme old age, he is still painting every day . . .

PHOTO CREDIT: Joshua Belinfante and Finesilver Media