Artist inspired students

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Artist and teacher, Geoffrey Olsen (1943-2007), former Principal Lecturer and Head of Art at Brookes has passed away.

Artist and teacher, Geoffrey Olsen, a former lecturer in the Visual Arts and Fine Arts at Oxford Brookes has died after being diagnosed with leukaemia three years ago.

His work has been exhibited all over the world, in Oxford, Europe, America and his native Wales. Indeed, his paintings showed at venues such as the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, the National Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth, Camden Art Centre and the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington DC.

Born in Merthyr Tydfil, Mr. Olsen studied art at Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and the Academy of Fine Art in Munich. He began teaching at Brookes, then the Oxford Polytechnic, in 1978 and became Principal Lecturer in the Visual Arts. From 1997-2001 he was Senior Lecturer in Fine Art. On retirement, Mr Olsen became the artist in Residence at Florida International University in Miami.

In 1999 he was granted the prestigious Abbey Award in Painting at the British School in Rome, following this with a long spell in Miami, the inspiration of his latest ‘ Above Eight Series’ of works.

At his funeral, the esteemed academic, Professor Tony Jones, President of the School of Art Institute of Chicago paid tribute to his dedication and integrity as an artist and teacher.

Craig Richardson of Brookes’ School of Arts and Humanities, said: “Geoff was a seminal influence on a number of ex-students of Fine Art and was instrumental in the development of the polytechnic to University status. He was a much valued presence by students and colleagues alike.’

Principal Lecturer, Shelley Sacks, added: “He was a passionate painter and an equally passionate teacher. As fiery and determined as Geoff was, this was balanced by a warmth, generosity of spirit and sensitivity, visible in his own work, as well as in his teaching.”