"I wanted to write an old fashioned art book, one that tells the story of the artist’s life from beginning to end," says author Hannah Fink.
"But I also wanted to write about the creative process – how Bronwyn made things, why she made them. What drives someone to make art?"
"The most interesting artists are ones who invent their own mediums, like Robert Klippel and Rosalie Gascoigne – and Bronwyn," says Fink.
Born on a farm near Gum Flat in Northern New South Wales, Oliver grew up in country-town Inverell. She won the Travelling Art Scholarship to study sculpture at Chelsea Art School in London, returning to win numerous awards including the Moët & Chandon Fellowship.
While many of her contemporaries began making installation art, Oliver worked within the traditional discipline of sculpture. She was an intensely ambitious artist whose works seem to grapple almost effortlessly with the big questions of life. Her organic yet strangely human sculptures are coveted by collectors for their eloquent beauty.
"But Bronwyn’s aim was not to create beautiful things for their own sake," says Fink. "The beauty of her objects comes from the thinking behind them."
Oliver’s death ten years ago cast a shadow over her work and her personality. The woman that emerges from this book is intelligent, funny, modest, hard-working, and, in the words of Roslyn Oxley, "never boring".
"The most exciting artists are the ones who speak to us most directly, who teach us how to look at things differently," says Fink.
"There has not been the opportunity for the public to see a lot of Bronwyn’s work all at once. I hope that this book is the beginning of Bronwyn being seen as a great Australian artist – an artist whose works belong to all students of art, and to the wider public."
Extensively illustrated and beautifully designed, this book is well priced for the art student as well as the general reader.