STEEL: art design architecture




Born 1975, Melbourne, Victoria

Lives Canberra, ACT

Simon Cottrell works almost exclusively in Monel 400, a nickel alloy beloved by jewellers and spectacle-makers for its strength and adaptability. Originally patented in the United States in 1906, Monel has been used in aircraft and rocket bodies, marine valves and pumps, and for chemical processing. Monel is also resistant to wear. Its stringent elegance speaks to the material’s origins in advanced manufacturing technology and there is an echo of this functional history in Cottrell’s tubular forms: many sit within the Modernist imagery of industrialization, some recalling the splendid solid mechanical bodies of the early-twentieth century French painter Fernand Léger.

Cottrell studied Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT University, achieving his Masters in 2010, and has exhibited both in Australia and overseas since 1996. He has taught at both RMIT University and Monash University in Melbourne, and in Singapore, New Zealand and the United States. He currently a Lecturer at the Australian National University’s Institute of the Arts in Canberra. Cottrell’s works are held in numerous private and public collections in Australia and internationally.

Monel is beautiful. It polishes up to exquisite soft greys, and its dense seductive surface quickly warms in the hand. It is perfect for Cottrell’s interests, which persistently circle around ambiguity. In brooches and pendants he employs a repertoire of simple forms that nevertheless multiply and tumble, advancing and retreating from each other.