First Survey, The Sculpture of Bronwyn Oliver at TarraWarra Museum of Art

  Bronwyn Oliver Apostrophe 1988 copper and lead 69.2 x 111.3 x 56.2 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Margaret Stewart Endowment, 1989 © Estate of Bronwyn Oliver. Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Bronwyn Oliver Apostrophe 1988 copper and lead 69.2 x 111.3 x 56.2 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Margaret Stewart Endowment, 1989 © Estate of Bronwyn Oliver. Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

The first comprehensive survey of the work of renowned Australian sculptor Bronwyn Oliver will be held at TarraWarra Museum of Art, 19 November 2016- 5 February 2017.
Bronwyn Oliver will present over 50 sculptures drawn from public and private Australian collections, from the mid-1980s to the artist’s final solo exhibition in 2006. It will reveal Oliver as the most significant sculptor of her generation. At a time when many artists were turning to installation, video and other ephemeral art forms, Oliver resolutely pursued making inventive and substantial works in metal, which became her signature material.

Guest curator, Julie Ewington, describes Oliver as one of the most exciting and rewarding sculptors to work in Australia in the last decades of the twentieth century. 
“Oliver developed an original, distinctive and enduring vocabulary that expressed her fascination with the inner life and language of form and the strict but beguiling demands of her chosen materials.
“Above all, she brought an almost poetic brevity and decision to her sculpture. Many works suggest aspects of the natural world and its metaphorical potential, and some of the most successful public works are located in gardens. Yet Oliver always tenaciously followed the logic of her material, making works such as Eyrie or Eddy that evoke associations with shelter or natural movement or, as with Curlicue, conjure human mark-making with deliberate panache.

TarraWarra Director, Victoria Lynn, described the exhibition as a testament to the short but poignant contribution made by Oliver to Australian sculpture – a vision that remains exceptional in the history of Australian contemporary art.

“Oliver’s unique and labour-intensive approach involved joining threads of copper wire to create what appear to be woven forms that allow light to pass through their surface and cast shadows on the walls and floors. Her works resonate with the force of archetypes, and their green and brown patinas suggest an enduring presence that remains as relevant now as when they were first created. Some appear to be rescued from an archaeological past, while others resemble the quintessential forms found in nature: spirals, spheres, rings and loops,” Ms Lynn said.
Oliver was renowned for sensitive and inventive sculptures placed in the public domain, and she worked closely with clients, stakeholders and architects in their installation. This exhibition will include maquettes of some of Oliver’s much-loved public works, accompanied by working documents and images. Exhibition curator Julie Ewington said the exhibition, located within the museum building in TarraWarra’s magnificent grounds, will be the perfect setting for appreciating Oliver’s work. 

Since Oliver’s untimely death 10 years ago at the age of 47, sculpture has become increasingly popular with broad audiences. Bronwyn Oliver will bring Oliver’s great achievements in sculpture to new and expanded audiences.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an illuminating monograph written by Hannah Fink, to be published by Piper Press, Sydney. In addition guest curator Julie Ewington will author an exhibition brochure and a comprehensive suite of interpretative texts. 

Curator Julie Ewington is an eminent writer, curator and broadcaster, who has played a central role in contemporary Australian art, as former Head of Australian Art at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, and in curatorial positions at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and Canberra School of Art Gallery.

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