David Larwill

Of all the Roar artists, Larwill has emerged as one of the most distinctive. His style of populating his paintings with stylized human figures and animals, his use of childlike forms, and the occasional inclusion of slogans, give his work a naive quality which sometimes seems simplistic. However this is misleading, for beneath the veneer of innocence lies a considerable sophistication. Larwill evokes an extraordinary range of feelings, moods and expressions through his frenetic compositions and use of intense colour.

Inspired by several visits to Arnhem Land and Central Australia, as well as to Morocco, Europe and New York, Larwill brings a primal strength to his painting. Sometimes his works evoke a sense of urgency so that the viewer is drawn into a maelstrom of anguished or celebratory forms whose circumstances demand response or resolution. Usually Larwill inclines more towards imagery which is innocent and spontaneous, rather than sinister or threatening. Characteristically, his paintings of the late 1980s and 1990s throng with dancing figures, tribal masks, colourful trees, birds , flowers and fish, and are thoroughly engaging. Occasionally, though there are more sinister overtones. Larwill's dark and brooding work Streetwise, painted 1993 after a visit to New York, is a case in point, and is dominated by a menacing figure brandishing a gun.

– Nevill Drury

Extract from 'David Larwill', Australian Painting Now, Eds. Laura Murry Cree and Neville Drury, Craftsman House, 2000


Born in Ballarat, Victoria 


1976 Prahran College of Advanced Education
1980 Preston Institute of Technology
Solo exhibitions

Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney
2007 Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney
2004 Adelaide Festival of Art, BMG Art, Adelaide S.A
2003 Striking the Pose,Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney

Recent Paintings, England & Co. London UK
2002 Gould Gallery, Melbourne
2001 Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane
1999 Gould Galleries, Melbourne

Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney

Greenhill Galleries, Perth
1997 Recent Work, Gould Galleries, South Yarra

Recent Work, Olsen Carr Art Dealers, Sydney
1996 Works on Paper, Gould Galleries, South Yarra
1994 Snakes and Ladders, Gould Galleries, South Yarra
1992 Stuff, Lisa Fox, South Yarra
1991 Road Paintings, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
1989 Southern Tablelands series, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
1988 Recent Works, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
1987 One Man Show, Coventry Gallery, Sydney
Selected group exhibitions

2008  2 x 2 Group Exhibition, Tim Olsen Gallery Annex, Sydney
2001 Abstraction, Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney
2000 Recent Works on Paper, Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney

4 x 4, Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney
1999 ‘The Artful Cello’, George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre,

‘Group Show’, Australian Galleries and Smith and Stoneley, Newstead, Qld.

‘Victorian Trades Hall 125th Anniversary Exhibtion and Auction for the

Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney
1998 Summer Exhibition, Olsen Carr Art Dealers

Stop the Jabiluka Mine, with Mark Schaller & Peter Walsh, Gould Galleries,


Mask, The Jewish Museum of Australia, Melbourne

Salon des Refuses, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney

Luna Park and the Art of Mass Delirium, Museum of Modern Art, Heide
1997 Devoured by Paint, Olsen Carr Art Dealers, Sydney
1996 Hidden Treasures, Australian Football League Centenary Art Exhibition, Melbourne
1995 Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of N.S.W.
1993 Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of N.S.W.

Faces of Hope, Amnesty International, Art Gallery of N.S.W.
1992 Roar Studios Touring Exhibition, Shepparton Art Gallery
1990 Greenpeace, Linden, St Kilda
1989 Moet & Chandon Touring Exhibition

Heidelberg and Heritage 9″x 5″, Linden, St Kilda
1988 A Horse Show, Heide Park and Art Gallery, Bulleen

The Naked City, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide

A New Generation 1983-1988, the Philip Morris Arts Grant Director's Choice,

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
1987 Inaugural Exhibition in the Murdoch Court, National Gallery of Victoria
1986 Colour One Exhibition, Coventry Gallery, Sydney

Modern Masters, National Gallery of Victoria
1985 Melbourne Group Show, Coventry Gallery, Sydney

Raw Reality, Realities Gallery, Toorak

Works on Paper, Coventry Gallery, Sydney
1984 Vox Pop, National Gallery of Victoria
1983 Roar Studios, Fitzroy
1982 Roar Studios Opening Show, Roar Studios, Fitzroy
1981 Roar Benefit Show, Green Street, Prahran
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Sir William Dobell Foundation


RMIT, Melbourne

New Parliament House, Canberra

Holmes a Court

Baillieu Myer

ICI Collection

Shell Collection of Contemporary Australian Art

Western Mining Corporation Collection

World Congress Centre, Melbourne

Launceston College of Advanced Education

Shepparton Art Gallery

Queensland Art Gallery

Deakin University


Australian Football League

Allen Allen & Hemsley, Sydney

New England Regional Art Museum

Orica, Melbourne
1999 Painting for the Australian Republican Movement – 'Things that Matter'
1996 Painting for the Australian Football League Hall of Fame and
Museum Design for St Leonards Pty Ltd.
1995 Cover design for boxed set “Six pieces du theatre contemporain
1989 Lithograph design for the Program Rigoletto The Australian Opera
1988 Design for Artists and Industry
1986 Painted Tram, Victoria, Ministry for the Arts

Poster and set design for Ubu Roi

Australian National Gallery Phillip Morris Art Grant

Australian National Gallery restaurant
1984 Mural for the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, South Yarra
Selected Bibliography
Selected Books and Catalogues: The Loti and Victor Smorgon Collection of Contemporary Art, 1987, Introduction by J. Buckley Roar Studios Touring Exhibition, 1992, Shepparton Art Gallery, Joseph Pascoe and Katrina Fraser, May Roar, 1995, Traudi Allen, Craftsman House, Sydney David Larwill, by Ken McGregor, Craftsman House, 1997 Selected Reviews and Articles: Bunbury, Stephanie. 1982, 'Roar- something to shout about', The Age, Weekender, 27 August Coburn, Elwyn Lynn, 1987. 'From severity to serenity', Weekend Australian, 4/5 July, Magazine10 Heathcote, Christopher. 1992, 'The roaring eighties' Art Monthly Australia, No. 52, August, pp.15-16 McDonald, John. 1987, 'Cult of the untouchables', Sydney Morning Herald, 4 July McGrath, Sandra. 1984, 'Last supper with the lights on', Weekend Australian, 17/18 March, Magazine