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b. 1975

Nell (b. 1975), conceptual and performance artist, painter and sculptor, completed an undergraduate degree at the Sydney College of the Art before undertaking an honours year at the University of California in 1996. Her early solo exhibitions – often collaborations with Mel O’Callahan - were in small venues in Sydney, Los Angeles, the Netherlands and Mumbai. In 1999 she founded the Rubyayre artist-run gallery in Sydney. Her first solo show at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery was in 2001and she has exhibited regularly there since. In 2003 and 2012 she exhibited Nell and Hometown girl has wet dream at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery. In between, in 2006 she gained her master’s degree from Sydney College of the Arts, partly completed on a scholarship at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Her other awards include the Pat Corrigan Grant in 1999, the National Association for the Visual Arts Marketing Grant in 2001 and the Rome Studio of the Australia Council in 2003. She has several times been a finalist in the Blake Prize for Religious Art; her projects include a collaboration with the fashion label Romance Was Born in 2011. In 2011 and 2012 her work was included in the exhibitions MONANISM and Theatre of the World at MONA, Hobart. Well-known around Sydney as the long-term partner of celebrated chef Kylie Kwong, in late 2012 she was curator of the MCA ARTBAR, using works from her series Dead or Alive to build what was described as ‘a cobweb of influences from fashion to free association, intimacy to impermanence, ethics to excitement and karma to craziness into her uniquely chilling and spine tingling effigy to life ‘n’ death . . . zombies, ghosts, fairies and monsters . . . a meat raffle – but not as you know it.’ Advertised highlights of the ARTBAR included ‘domestic inspired boudoirs, private view areas, lectures, plenty of live music and a dance lesson on the Sculpture Terrace.’ In 2013 she won the $50 000 University of Queensland National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize with a video of herself using a cricket bat to destroy a huge plastic fly (initially exhibited as Fly as high as me in 2002). Her diverse productions are held by MONA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the University of Queensland Art Museum and the Maitland Regional Art Gallery as well as corporate collections.

Updated 2018