Music & Memories

Olsen, 89, faces his largest exhibition

20170309001299804263 minihighres

One of Australia's greatest - and oldest - artists is facing the largest exhibition of his career.

John Olsen: The You Beaut Country at the Art Gallery of NSW will feature paintings, ceramics, tapestries and works on paper from public and private collections when it opens in Sydney on Friday.

The 89-year-old Archibald prize-winning artist is known for his colourful, abstract paintings evoking the Australian landscape.

He refers to the "untidiness" of the outback.

"Once you begin to appreciate that untidiness it becomes very, very beautiful in itself - and unique," he told AAP at a preview of the exhibition on Thursday.

Olsen has received some harsh reviews during his career, including from one English critic who referred to a painting as "a cascade of diarrhoea".

The Sydney artist said negative commentary doesn't bother him, saying criticism is a "person's point of view" that an artist doesn't need to "wear".

"That's what I say to young artists: 'If you can't stand criticism, don't read it'."

© AAP 2017

Photo: (AAP Image/AGNSW, Mim Stirling)

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