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Chris Olwage

Thu 19 Jul 2007 In: Events View at Wayback View at NDHA

That incredible hunk who is probably the most photographed gay boy in Auckland is called Chris. Chris Olwage, 21, party animal, or so it seemed until now. Nary a party or Family event gets reported in the gay newspaper or on this website that his shapely form is not featured, most often garbed in next-to-nothing, sometimes in drag, always in action on the dance floor. South African-born Chris is an action kinda person. He is a trained gymnast, an instructor, a student of classics at Auckland University, and, wait for it, he is a competent painter! Eight of his works are presently on show at Old Government House, on the Auckland Uni campus, and I went along to the opening and was pretty impressed, particularly as Chris by his own admission has had no real training, which puts him in the “primitive” or “folk” art category much like a hell of a lot of the population of North America, where whole museums full of the stuff have sprung up. But Chris's works, unlike that of the “folk” of the folk tradition, are inspired by - what else? - classical Greek themes. My eyes swept quickly over the bronzes of John Young, all hands, singly or in pairs, all holding dolphins or other symbolic Mediterranean objects. I also perfunctorily perused the beautifully mounted internet - sourced photographs of Greek and Roman statues done by Brian Donovan, all quite competent, and I did dwell, distractedly, on the question of copyright, but in the end I zeroed in on my quarry – the Olwage collection, we might call it. The largest of the paintings is, surprise, surprise, a depiction of erotic love between two hot guys, nude, and a hymn of Eros is boldly painted in gold on the canvas. Most impressive composition, but of all the works this one, alas, is the least well drawn. Most impressive is a pen and ink drawing of the “Nike of Samothrace,” or the Winged Victory as patrons of the Louvre in Paris know her. Another of the non-oil items is a similar “Laocoon,” beautifully rendered. All flippancy aside, seeing Chris's work will make you think twice about ever labelling him a blond and if you think about it in the perspective of his being “one of the family” it should make you even prouder of the amazing diversity of our Auckland brothers and sisters. Get on down to Old Government House, enjoy this show and the next time you see Chris shaking his comely butt in your face, close your eyes and think of Aphrodite. Shouldn't be too difficult. Did I mention that I bought one? Paintings by Christopher Olwage, photographs by Brian Donovan, and bronzes by John Young on display now until mid-August at Old Government House Gallery, Waterloo Crescent, Auckland. Larry Jenkins - 19th July 2007    

Credit: Larry Jenkins

First published: Thursday, 19th July 2007 - 12:48am

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