Denese Oates



An exhibition of sculpture by Denese Oates presented by Beaver Galleries, 11 – 29 JUNE 2024

Opening Thursday 13 June 2024

Creeping Weeds 2023, 82 x 48 x 50cm Copper, iron, wood pulp, gypsum cement.

Artist statement for BALANCE at Beaver Galleries June 2024

BALANCE, the Denese Oates 2024 exhibition at Beaver Galleries in the ACT, presents a body of work that has been informed by diverse landscapes encountered during many walks in the Australian countryside. Inspiration for this collection comes from massive boulders, between which resilient weeds frequently emerge. It’s an image that has left an indelible mark on her artistic sensibilities.

Recent walks include the Goldfields Track in Victoria, where magnificent rounded granite boulders punctuate the terrain. She has been equally moved by the enchanting Kimberley region in north-west Australia where the boulders take on box-like forms. Exploring the geological and biological features of these terrains has spurred Denese to capture their essence in her work.

This exhibition reflects the thematic core of Denese’s recent work. To bring this vision to life, she employs mainly copper and gypsum cement as her preferred materials.

Using gypsum cement, she has fabricated imagined boulder shapes that embody the rugged beauty and solidity of the natural formations that served as inspiration. These boulders are then adorned with powdered metal, typically copper or iron, and treated with patinas to achieve an oxidised effect.

Intricate copper weeds are intertwined with these boulders, to seemingly emerge from their very core. These delicate yet hardy botanical forms serve as a metaphor for the tenacity of life, flourishing amidst the strength and grandeur of the boulders.

Throughout the exhibition, you will encounter groupings of these boulders, often stacked in precarious arrangements, evoking a sense of balance and tension. This deliberate composition invites contemplation on the delicate equilibrium between stability and fragility, permanence and transience.

Beaver Galleries

81 Denison Street, Deakin, Canberra, ACT, 2600
(+61 2) 6282 5294

Creeping Weeds

Creeping Weeds 2023
82 x 48 x 50cm
Copper, iron, wood pulp, gypsum cement.

Boulder Stack

Boulder Stack I 2023
76 x 58cm
Paper, magnetite, gesso.

Blown Away

Blown Away 2023
62 x 40 x 40 cm
Copper, iron, wood pulp, gypsum cement.


Teeter 2023
30 x 20 x 40 cm
Copper, iron, magnetite, wood pulp, board.

Unlikely Friends

Unlikely Friends 2023
25 x 25 x 25 cm
Copper, wood pulp, gypsum cement.

Sneak Weed

Sneak Weed 2023
about 12 x 10 x 8 cm
Copper, paint, wood pulp. (wall piece)

Hazardous Growth

Hazardous Growth 2023
about 12 x 10 x 8 cm
Copper, wood pulp, graphite, wax. (wall piece)


Precarious 2023
23 x 11 x 10 cm
Copper, steel, wood pulp


Poised 2023
36 x 20 x 20 cm
Iron, brass, magnetite, wood pulp, board.

Squash Weed

Squash Weed 2023
33 x 26 x 20 cm
Copper, iron, wood pulp.

The Winner

The Winner 2023
15 x 10 x 10 cm
Copper, iron, wood pulp.

Well Balanced

Well Balanced 2023
about 33 x 23 x 21 cm
Copper, iron, wood pulp, board.

Hanging Boulders

Hanging Boulders 2023
100 x 60 x 50 cm
Copper. Hanging piece.


Fraught 2023
27 x 53 x 40 cm
Gypsum cement, copper, magnetite, aluminium.

SS Pile

SS Pile 2024
31 x 22 x 2.5 cm
Copper, steel, wood pulp.

It's a Fine Line

It’s a Fine Line 2024
66 x 55 x 58 cm

Spikey Weeds

Spikey Weeds, 2024
40 x 60 x 52 cm
Copper, steel, gypsum cement.


Float, 2024
117 x 44 x 44 cm
Copper, wood.