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Tony O’Keefe is an Australian born Kiwi who has been residing in Queenstown for over 25 years.
As an artist philosopher O’Keefe combines studies in biology, physics, industrial design and information science to express his artistic identity through sculpture. His work is in private collections in Australia and New Zealand and was recently recognised at the 2016 Queenstown Arts Centre Annual Art Awards, winning the Supreme Award, Best Artwork in Show.
O’Keefe’s diverse sculptural works are each based on a single principle or idea. Employing his signature materials of old steel and found objects he fuses the founding concept into beautiful, dramatic and sometimes menacing forms. Through the powerful use of symbols and stark contrast he challenges us to see everyday items, cultural artefacts and our own behaviour in new ways.
“I see art as a conversation and invite the viewer in. My work is deliberately disruptive, tactile, cryptic or controversial. It is important to me that people can interact with my artwork on as many levels as possible. By coming close and standing in the shoes of the artist you may experience the artwork as I have during its creation and discover something of the meaning instilled there.”
“I am an explorer of the natural world and see conceptual art as a way to defy limits and broaden my experience. The three dimensional realm of sculpture offers a greater range of tools and I will use kinetic and performance elements where necessary. Drawn to beauty and to extremes, I am equally at home working with dense organic complexity as I am with sparse geometric minimalism.”