Mary-Louise Browne

2022 Mary Louise Browne

Mary-Louise attended the Elam School of Fine Arts, graduating in 1982 with a Master of Fine Arts. She quickly gained recognition for her exceptional talent and became one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed contemporary artists. 

Mary Louise uses text in lieu of imagery to convey social and political commentaries and has become well known for her use of text on traditional sculptural forms presenting meticulously chosen words on stone blocks to make single units that progress sequentially. Usually, in these transmutations, the number of letters in each word is consistent, with a single letter changing each time to reveal, in their progression, a witty aphorism. 

Two of her best-known works are public commissions: Byword, a series of nine stone benches running the length of Lorne Street in Auckland City, and Body to Soul, a granite staircase in the Wellington Botanic Gardens. We are honoured to have a piece of her work at Baradene – Give to Gift, the marble sculpture installed on the lawn in front of the Duchesne building. 

In 2016, to commemorate the launch of Baradene’s Growing Heart Foundation, Mary-Louise gave generously of her talent and time to design “One Heart” tiles made with marble from the old Baradene Jubilee Wing Chapel. 

Mary-Louise was the first director of the Auckland artist-run gallery Artspace and despite achieving great  success, she has remained grounded and committed to her roots. She has always been proud of her education at Baradene and credits her time here with instilling a sense of discipline, determination, and a passion for art that has stayed with her throughout her life.