Artist and Sculptor Olive Gill-Hille Interview with Urth Magazine

Olive Gill-Hille is a multidisciplinary Perth-based artist whose work exhibits a kind of duality. Co-located in the two worlds of art and design, her sculptural work is both artistic and functional, appearing fresh yet familiar. We caught up with Olive to learn more about her background, process and inspiration.

Words from Ella Liascos

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Photography by Olivia Senior

In a social media world, it can feel like you’ve seen it all visually—but occasionally you’ll come across an artist who proves otherwise. You may be working with familiar materials and a familiar medium, but it feels like something new. This is the effect of the intricately carved wooden sculptures by Perth artist Olive Gill-Hille. Using media you’ve seen before but not in This Path. Organic, conscious, structural and spontaneous; Her work gracefully oscillates between function and form without sacrificing either. Represented by Sydney’s Sally Dan-Cuthbert gallery and featured in several popular design magazines, it’s not surprising that Olive’s wood sculptures have captured the attention of the art and design worlds alike. Her work demonstrates discernment beyond her age and has universal appeal. We caught up with Olive to learn more about her origins and practice.

Olivia Senior

Getting back to your first piece, what inspired you to work with wood?

My first functional piece of art was titled Figure 1 and 2, and they were these bulbous, organic, almost buttock-shaped stools that were very reminiscent of the female form. They are made from a sustainable, lightweight and fast growing wood called Paulownia that takes 10 years to reach its full height. I came from an art degree where I didn’t learn a lot of practical skills, it was very conceptual and I really wanted to do things in a practical way. So then I went to RMIT for an associate degree in furniture design, where there was a lot of woodworking and metalworking and it was very hands-on. I’ve really fallen in love with working with wood, it has some wonderful transformative properties.