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Dinosaur designs create ‘pictorial’ resin for GoMA in Brisbane

Husband and wife team Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy have spent the last 25 years developing their resin practice with co-collaborator Liane Rossler. Throughout their history they’ve created collections inspired by river stones and rock formations, and taken visual cues from artists like Rothko and Pollock. Yet nothing in their experience could have prepared them for their latest commission that came to them from the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.

“When GoMA approached us last year, the opportunity just brought up so many questions. We thought about creating a giant sculpture from our jewellery and homewares, or creating something just out of jewellery. In the end, because both Stephen and I are trained as artists and painters, we decided to use resin, using it pictorially,” she says.
“What we settled on was doing a palette, exploring colours from warm to cool. We wanted to play with the variations in colour, scale and casting and really venture into our own design vocabulary. The aim was  just to work with a lot of freedom and experiment.  “Some of the designs are solid and painterly and others are very bright and translucent,” Louise says.

Detail of: Dinosaur Designs Solar Flare 2011 Polyester resin with pigment and dye 120cm (diam.) Commissioned for Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Stephen and Louise set aside time in the studio this year spending three
months making giant resin artworks. The works, which measure 1 to 1.2
metres in diameter, will be displayed in the glass cabinet that greets
visitors at the entrance of the GoMA museum from October 15.


Detail of: Dinosaur Designs Sea Garden 2011 Polyester resin with pigment and dyes 120cm (diam.) Commissioned for Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane in with pigment and dyes 120cm (diam.) Commissioned for Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane & Dinosaur Designs Sun 2011 Polyester resin with pigment and dyes 120cm (diam.) Commissioned for Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

With names like Solar Flare and Sea Garden it’s clear to see from
where their inspiration came. Still, even Louise and Stephen two artists
with considerable experience pouring, setting and designing between
them found there was a large element of chance and surprise in the
casting the process.

“We have never actually made works in resin that are this big. So
things like temperature, airflow and proportion all played a role. We
had to produce quite a few (discs) to get the designs we wanted. Stephen
and I were pouring them together and found we had to consider things
like different chemicals setting too quickly, different colours like the
red setting faster than others and of course some of these larger works
had a tendency to crack, so that meant we had to start again,” she

Bold and powerful, the resin discs for GoMA will likely be displayed
on one long shelf – leaning up against the wall like giant plates.
Weighing almost as much as glass, some of the final discs in the series
of 8 weigh up to 20kgs. “It’s like glass,” says Louise. “When you make
something at that scale, it really kind of bowls you over when you stand
in front of it. Just the weight and the intensity of the colour,” she
Helping to celebrate 5 years since GoMA threw open its doors, the
Dinosaur discs will be on display from 15 October and until 25 March

Stephen Ormandy, Dinosaur Designs

Louise Olsen, Dinosaur Designs