Kylie Stillman – Just remarkable sculpture!

I recently went to the Know My Name exhibition at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery with fellow blog writers, Jane and Caroline.

This Gallery was hosting a subset exhibition of a larger exhibition in Canberra, Australia.

The Know My Name initiative is part of an ongoing series of gender equity displays which seeks to raise the profile of women artists who have previously been omitted from published histories and public collections.1

This travelling exhibition draws from a two-part exhibition which was held over 2020- 2022. Caroline and I wrote about that, and you can read our posts if you click the links in the footnotes below. The initiative especially focusses on moments in which women created new forms of art and cultural commentary through time, dating back to the 19th century, right up to modern times. 1

A number of artists that we have featured on the blog previously were represented, but today I would like to introduce you to a new artist whose work I saw there also. I think her work is just incredible.

Her name is Kylie Stillman and she is Melbourne-based artist who works in creating patterns and sculptures – but not in the usual way! Take a look at this, for example:

"Birds" by Kylie Stillman. Handcut layers of paper. Credit: Julie's photo

So, it looks like some cut outs of birds, doesn’t it? BUT, when you get up close you see that the birds are individually carved out of a number of sheets of paper, and it's the layers and the shadows that create the three dimensional images in “negative space.” My photos don't do it justice at all, but I hope you can see the detail well enough to see how these images are created...the dark parts are just shadows which form the "colour" of the top feathers!

Don’t you agree it is just remarkable??

Born in 1975, Kylie originally studied design, and then enrolled in a painting course at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). She emerged with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999, but realised that she much preferred conceptual art, using commonly available items and re-purposing them to give them a noble presence.2

Kylie’s website1 describes her work as follows:

”Kylie uses scalpel blades, jigsaws, sewing materials and drills to alter objects and create negative spaces that depict ‘signs of life’. Birds, plant life and the artist’s own scribbles are frequently used as subject matter. Her inventive artworks draw from both modern art and craft traditions to transform ordinary materials into works of art. The artist says ‘it’s my own form of alchemy – taking something very common and then giving it nobility’.” 2

In other cases, she carves meticulously into stacks of books or wood or recycled HDPE (plywood/MDF) sheeting to create both indoor and outdoor works of art.

Kylie also creates patterns using pins and thread. The following video shows us some examples:

Courtesy of Utopia Gallery, Sydney.

In a career of over 20 years, Kylie has held many solo and goup exhibtions, and many of her works are on permanent display, both indoors and outdoors.

You may care to look at more of Kylie’s work on her website below. (You can click on each image to reveal more in that category):

Kylie Stillman
Kylie Stillman, Artist - Melbourne Australia. Best known for her book sculptures and woodcarvings, Stillman uses scalpel blades, jigsaws, sewing materials and drills to alter objects and carve negative spaces that depict ‘signs of life’. Birds, plant life and the artist’s own scribbles are frequentl


  1. With thanks to Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery in Victoria (MPRG) and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

  2. With thanks to Kylie Stillman,

  3. Kylie Stillman is represented by the Utopia Gallery in Sydney, Australia, and there are more examples of her work on that website too. Click here.

  4. You can read our previous posts about the Know My Name initiative if you click here, here, and here.