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Farewell Bronwyn Oliver

Virginia Baxter, Keith Gallasch

Open City, Keith Gallasch and Virginia Baxter with Bronwyn Oliver’s Unicorn Open City, Keith Gallasch and Virginia Baxter with Bronwyn Oliver’s Unicorn
photo Paula Bray
News of the death this month of Bronwyn Oliver saddened us deeply. The enigmatic work of this artist always surprised and inspired. (Bruce James once called her “Queen of the Uncanny”). Though she was prolific her sculptures took time to emerge and appeared on our radar intermittently. It was always a particular pleasure to come upon a new piece, or one we hadn’t seen before, to feel the antigravitational pull of her organic shapes, the perfect combination of delicacy and strength inherent in the eerily familiar objects she made, like missives from nature itself. Though we had hoped to meet her but never did, in 1991 for Writers in Recital (curated by Martin Harrison and Jonathan Mills) we came close. In a performance entitled Small Talk in Big Rooms we created a misguided tour for an audience on the move interacting with some of the contemporary works on display in the Art Gallery of NSW. At one point, we came upon Bronwyn Oliver’s Unicorn and though it appeared both fragile and forbidding, we felt compelled to approach and then to lie alongside it, to enter its powerful force-field.

An exhibition of Bronwyn Oliver's work is currently showing at Roslyn Oxley Gallery, Paddington until Sept 2.

RealTime issue #74 Aug-Sept 2006 pg. 54

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