Important Australian + International Fine Art
9 May 2007

Bronwyn Oliver

(1959 - 2006)


height: 200.0 cm

$60,000 - 80,000
Sold for $162,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 1 - 9 May 2007, Melbourne

Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne
Private collection, Sydney


Bronwyn Oliver, Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne, 2001

Catalogue text

Bronwyn Oliver remains one of Australia's most remarkable artists. The clarity of her vision, the mastery of her craft and devotion to her work is represented in each and every object she created. It is with great sorrow that her audience must now come to terms with her passing last year at the age of 47, and as her life and her work has come to such a sudden halt we must all now try to celebrate a life lived, and the precious objects she has left us to experience.

There are artists who produce massive bodies of work from which some can be deemed 'successful' and some not so. There are other artists who, by the very nature of their work, make far fewer objects but nearly all are extraordinary. Bronwyn Oliver was such an artist, for when one looks at her meticulously welded copper assemblages there is a sense that these works are meant to exist, that they are born of that wonderful circumstance when human creativity and Nature are perfectly bound, and that the world is richer as a result of their presence.

Oliver's works speak of strength and fragility, the wonder of natural design, of life, light and of elemental integrity. Her repertoire of forms refer to, but do not merely replicate, seed pods, shells, flower buds, vines, and tendrils: forms which intrinsically house an expectant new life, or which search for the sustenance of water, air, or light. But with all this symbolism of the possibility of existence, there is no mistaking the beautiful tragedy of these structures. Like a shed snake skin, or an eroded shell exposing its inner, empty core of perfect geometry, Oliver's sculpture also speak of life passed or, like an old un-germinated seed, the passing of possibility.

Bronwyn Oliver's work is represented in major private and public collections in England, Europe, USA and Australia including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Major public works by the artist include installations at the Royal Botanic Gardens,Sydney; University of New South Wales, Sydney; Queen Street Mall, Brisbane; Orange Regional Gallery, NSW; and Latrobe Regional Gallery, Victoria.