21 November – 14 December 2002
The sculptures in Bronwyn Oliver's current exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery are a selection of privately-commissioned works and works produced for exhibition made by the artist over the past twelve months. All are made from copper wire and all but one have been made by the artist in her studio.
Walking through Oliver's exhibition is something like a beachcombing expedition. Encounters are had with strange things, sometimes unidentifiable, that have been washed-up. They are remnants of former life forms or parts thereof. It is as if long exposure to light and water has eroded away the concealing skin of a now dead organism and a hidden skeletal, structural reality has been revealed. Her objects are like husks, skeletons, shells, carapaces, sponges articulated by calicified capillary networks or felt-like meshings of fibres. Some of her objects are still voluptuous with recent life, others are dry, sloughed skins, withered but still bearing signs of the life form recently evacuated.
A list of titles of Bronwyn Oliver sculptures read likes a lexicon of biological terms that describe a shape or growth structure. Her sculpture is formal and labour intensive. The easy, voluptuous curves of her objects disguise the punishing process to which the artist is committed. With dizzying twistings and welds of pliant copper wire, Oliver creates the 'weave', the microstructure of her organic sculptural forms. In the most recent works in this exhibition, this structure has become more open and geometric, permitting light to enter her forms and exaggerating their optical aspect. A small, spherical sculpture, in its elegant simplicity, approaches some sort of geometric ideal. It is a radiant orb of line and luminosity that refracts the light that it encloses.
Bronwyn Oliver studied sculpture at Alexander Mackie in Sydney and completed her Masters of Art at Chelsea School of Art in London in 1983. Her work is held in every major public collection in Australia as well as many important private and corporate collections in Australia and abroad. The winner of many public sculpture commissions, Oliver's work can be seen in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney and Queen Street Mall in Brisbane. She has also won a large number of art awards including the prestigious Moet and Chandon art prize in 1994. Bronwyn Oliver has been exhibiting with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery since 1986.