Simon Cottrell

Australia, b. 1975

Simon Cottrell’s works are built with the aim of stimulating curiosity through gentle confoundment. Whether their forms are representational or decisively abstract is deliberately unclear. Simon considers each piece as instigating an ongoing perceptual process that has the potential to unfurl over time, through intimate relationship with its wearer – almost all past work exists in this context today, in the lives of people who own and wear it. The pieces are meticulously made using extremely tough, durable, and stainless materials selected to withstand the lives of real people. All materials are sourced from discarded/waste product, yet are worked in ways that retain no visual memory of that history.


Simon Cottrell has exhibited jewellery and objects internationally since 1996, after completing a BA of Fine Arts with Honours in Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT, where they also completed a Master of Arts Research in 2010. They set up their first studio in Melbourne in 1997, making a broad range of limited-edition, production and commissioned jewellery in stainless steel and precious metals. Since the early 2000s, one-off jewellery pieces have become the primary focus of their studio practice. Between 2002 and 2011 they were lecturing in Metals and Jewellery in the School of Art and Design at Monash University, and in Gold & Silversmithing at the School of Fine Arts at RMIT, Melbourne. After relocating to Canberra between 2011 and 2021, they were a Lecturer/Researcher in the Jewellery & Object Workshop (formerly Gold & Silversmithing) at the Australian National University, School of Art and Design. They’re regularly invited to present lectures and workshops in Australia, North America, Europe, New Zealand, Asia. Works are held in public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria; 
E’space Solidor, Ville de Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France; Art Gallery of South Australia; National Gallery of Australia; Art Gallery of Western Australia; Die Nue Sammlung, Pinakothek De Modern, Munich and Muzeum Českého Ráje, Turnov, Czech Republic.


Since 2021 they’ve been based in East Gippsland, Victoria.


“When our senses are presented with something that is familiar and yet also ambiguous our curiosity is triggered, and sensory engagement is extended. Our ability to be clear about what we are looking at becomes hard to resolve. Forms deliberately hint at many things yet never any one specific thing. Are they abstractions of familiar items or decisively non-representational? If there is a potential line between these brooches being perceived as either one way or another, I will usually try to sit on that line. Where that line lies however, depends very much on the personal histories, priorities, and attentiveness of the wearer/viewer. In essence the work doesn’t aim to state anything specific; more simply I want to give the wearer a personal sensory experience, in an ongoing, unfolding gentle confoundment. Over the years my work is increasingly monotone in colour and texture. The balance between formal diversity and uniformity of surface becomes quiet but in a resonant manner. While there is never a punch line to be found in this work, it is fundamental to our human nature to try to resolve our perceptions of things around us.”

Simon Cottrell


Paired uneven double, 2015, monel, stainless steel

More work by Simon Cottrell

Three drops down by Simon Cottrell Three drops down , 2015, monel, stainless steel ,
Paired uneven double (viewed from two angles) by Simon Cottrell Paired uneven double (viewed from two angles) , 2015, monel, stainless steel, nylon cord ,
Doubled double circles white by Simon Cottrell Doubled double circles white , 2013, monel, stainless steel, powdercoat ,
Ball under disc (glowing) by Simon Cottrell Ball under disc (glowing) , 2010, monel, phosphorescent paint ,
Bell pipe pendant by Simon Cottrell Bell pipe pendant , 2018, monel, nylon cord, private collection ,
Circle ball beneath slits  by Simon Cottrell Circle ball beneath slits , 2015, monel, stainless steel, private collection ,
Long tone (viewed from two angles) by Simon Cottrell Long tone (viewed from two angles) , 2018, monel, stainless steel, nylon cord, private collection ,
Awkward profile by Simon Cottrell Awkward profile , 2006, monel, acrylic, stainless steel, private collection ,
Doubled barrelled bud Bud by Simon Cottrell Doubled barrelled bud Bud , 2013, monel, stainless steel ,
From to pendant by Simon Cottrell From to pendant , 2018, monel, nylon cord, private collection ,
Round and back back by Simon Cottrell Round and back back , 2010, monel, stainless steel, collection of the National Gallery of Australia ,
Doubled circles reflected by Simon Cottrell Doubled circles reflected , 2012, monel, stainless steel, private collection ,
Circle on more by Simon Cottrell Circle on more , 2014, monel, stainless steel, powdercoat, private collection ,
Cufflinks by Simon Cottrell Cufflinks , 2014, silver, monel ,
Awkward rest (container) by Simon Cottrell Awkward rest (container) , 2005, monel, stainless steel, collection of the artist ,
Re-flection (viewed from two angles) by Simon Cottrell Re-flection (viewed from two angles) , 2018, monel, stainless steel ,
Doubled doubled circles by Simon Cottrell Doubled doubled circles , 2013, monel, stainless steel ,
Barrelled bud log by Simon Cottrell Barrelled bud log , 2011, monel, stainless steel, private collection ,


Output to Paths

August 23 to September 17, 2011

It isn’t always an easy companionship we share with Simon’s work. It can deny us easy access and require real focus: this is its challenge and its reward. As Simon says, “these pieces are not conceived to be made clear sense of”.


October 6 - 31, 2015

Gallery Funaki celebrates its 20th anniversary with an exhibition by some of our longest-standing artists.