Strange Loop

Strange Loop is a fitting title for a mini-survey of work by Mary-Louise Browne. A strange loop is a phenomenon in which movement in a system always arrives back to where it started.

With Browne’s practice, the beginning and end is always language and the way words give form to our perception of what we see. Using text in lieu of imagery, she speaks to the visual while refusing the prevalence of images and their authority over the imagination.

A leading practitioner of text-based conceptual minimalism, Browne is also a lover of objects and what she calls “the thinginess of things”. She has employed a wide range of media to achieve her purposes.

Cerebral at first glance, her work is infused with warmth, dry wit and tactility. Works, whether in leather, stone or satin call to be touched. There’s often a playful exchange between media and meaning - Pale Skin, part of a large series of leather works speaking to the body, is painted on fine flesh hued leather. The exhibition includes some of these works.

A delight in the clash between fine art and commercial art is frequently present – neons send strange messages advertising nothing. Similar teases are seen in her newest neon, Grand, which in medium, scale and reading teases conventional expectations with the ironic way the word is used in the Irish vernacular where it downplays magnificence to simply mean ok or adequate. An eponymous work is currently on show at the Dowse Art Museum and she is also included in the exhibition Perilous currently on at Christchurch Art Gallery.

Mary-Louise Browne graduated from the University of Auckland with a Master of Fine Arts, First Class Honours in 1982 majoring in sculpture. She is an established artist with an impressive history of exhibitions and commissions for permanent public art works such as Byword, a series of granite seats on Lorne St in Auckland, Font, a pool at St Patrick’s Square in Auckland’s CBD, and the staircase Body to Soul in Wellington’s Botanical Gardens.


  • Thu 13 Oct


  • 5:30 pm — 7:30 pm


  • Level 2, 22 Garrett St
  • Te Aro, Wellington