Rosemary Ollison

Rosemary Ollison is a self-taught artist who lives in Milwaukee, WI. She was 16 years old when she moved to the midwest from a plantation in Arkansas. She began making art in 1984 while healing from an abusive marriage and for the next 25 years explored numerous media. Most of her work deals thematically with her identity as a black women and celebrates the power, individuality and mystique of other women. Besides drawing, Rosemary collects glass, leather, bracelets, beads, bones and jewelry and repurposes these materials into sculptural works. She has redesigned her small apartment with layers of pattern, duct tape sculptures, curtains of woven leather, crazy quilts and inventive drawings. She also designs clothing and writes poetry. Ollison says she creates in dialog with God: “When I am creating I am satisfied, I am free! I no longer just exist, I am alive!”

Portrait Society presented her work in a major exhibition in 2016, which included a room-sized installation that was a recreation of her living room, with a four channel video.

She has exhibited work at the 2017 and 2018 Outsider Art Fair, New York; UWM Union Gallery, Milwaukee; Indianapolis Public Library;  Walker’s Point Center for the Arts; Uihlein Peters Gallery; Cissy Peltz Gallery, Milwaukee; and Alphons Gallery. Her work is included in the collections of the Chipstone Foundation and the Milwaukee Art Museum. She is represented by Portrait Society Gallery.

Press: Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel





Installation view, “Agency, Industry, Infinity,” Portrait Society Gallery, 2016.



Rosemary Ollison, installation, Portrait Society

image by Heidi parkes

“Learning to live with abundance,” installation and four-channel video, Portrait Society and Ted Brusubardis.



Rosemary Ollison, crazy quilt, 9 x 9 feet.


Rosemary Ollison, Crazy quilt, 9×5 x 10 ft. (sold)


Untitled (tears and flowers), ink and glitter on paper, 11 x 14 in. (sold)