The Best Exhibitions to See in Sydney This October

While it might feel like the year is speeding away into the distance, there’s still time to slow down and smell the roses—and artworks—at a bunch of new exhibitions opening this month.

Take a beat and pencil in an opening or two, where you can let your mind wander in the latest creative delights from some very talented local artists.

Jesse Olsen, Hold On, Pass~Port Store & Gallery

Jesse Olsen makes translating delicate line work from paper to skin (and back again) look easy. In his latest solo exhibition, Hold On, the Brisbane-based artist presents a collection of illustrations reflecting on love, loss, perseverance, and optimism. Revisiting motifs explored throughout his practice as both a tattooist and fine artist, western cowboys and eagles interact with sensitive floral studies and suburban landscapes set ablaze. Get down to Pass~Port this Thursday, 6 October from 6-8 pm to celebrate the opening with a drink or two.


Jason Phu, just some nice things like frogs and flowers and insects and nothing more, Chalk Horse

Spring is here and so is Jason Phu’s new exhibition, just some nice things like frogs and flowers and insects and nothing more. Contrary to what the title suggests, the latest body of work by this comedic painter points to the sickly-sweet, melting rainbow pot of colour that is contemporary life and the unavoidable (sometimes yucky) things that along come with it. Yes, you could win one million dollars on the lottery, but you could also cop a face full of angry bees at any given moment. Never forget that. Drawing on a plethora of references from Chinese scrolls to Disney, Phu nudges his viewer into his absurd worlds that convey the intimate trimmings of nature and humanity. Why not gallery hop and join the opening on Thursday 6 October from 6-8 pm at Chalk Horse—it’s just down the road from PP, don’t be lazy!!

Ondine Seabrook, Sunset Strip, China Heights

Enter the magical, milky-coloured landscapes of Ondine Seabrook’s Sunset Strip. Bringing together a new collection of paintings created during two independent trips—one to her home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and the other to the Menindee Lakes outside of Broken Hill—Seabrook reconciles the differences between these contrasting environments through her sensitive approach to colour and light. From sun-soaked plains glaring with the heat of the day to brooding, twilight ocean scenes, the artist navigates the interplay of opposing elements; lightness and darkness, softness and boldness, desert and sea. Pop into the opening celebrations on Friday, 14 October from 6-8 pm at China Heights.

Mikey Yates

Group show, The Throat of the Snake, COMA
With two Sydney locations now up their sleeve—one in Darlinghurst and a new baby in Chippendale—COMA is taking the porque no los dos route to launching their next exhibition. The Throat of the Snake is a group show presenting works by Australian and international artists across not one, but two gallery spaces. The exhibition will exhibit a collection of new work by Diane Chappalley (UK), Jack Lanagan Dunbar (AUS), Yuan Fang (CHN), Alina Perez (US), Justin Williams (AUS), and Mikey Yates (US). Head over to either locale for opening night on Friday, 21 October from 6 pm and expect to party bus hop from one spot to the other over the course of the evening. Celebrations continue the following night at the Darlinghurst gallery, with a live performance by Fountain Chorus—you can secure your tickets via Eventbrite now.

Rinse, Amrita Hepi, Image design: Matt Sav. Original photo: Gregory Lorenzutti

Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art 2022, Carriageworks

Exploring the interplay of digital and the physical realms, Performance Space presents Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art 2022 at Carriageworks. Giving rise to innovative new work from Australia, Asia Pacific and First Nations artists, Liveworks offers up a program of performances, immersive installations, parties, and conversations centred around the themes of renewal and wonder. Running from 20-30 October, get your tickets now via the Carriageworks website.

Sign up for the Monster Children Newsletter