Sombre, 2023

rhyolite, sandstone, steel



Sombre was created intentions of displaying reflective and sorrowful emotion with a sense of examining one’s own thoughts of grief. I spend many hours searching for rocks of the right shape, then carefully weave steel around the natural contours and structure to create the figure. In all my works I aim to demonstrate depth of feeling and I enjoy the challenge of creating expressions from inanimate objects.

About the Artist


Nicole O'Regan lives on Wiradjuri Land in the central tablelands of NSW.




Hi, my name is Nicole O’Regan and I live in the little locality of Hampton, near Jenolan caves, Oberon.

The process of how I create a sculpture is extensive and, in some ways, it is years in the making. My sculptures currently are predominately created from rocks with woven steel encasing the rocks. 

I acquire the rocks from quarries around my local district. Most of the rocks were destined for roads that we drive on and the new airport runway. Instead, I have saved them and turned them into sculpture. The formation of the rocks is how I find them. I don’t use a hammer or a chisel or anything to shape what I find. I spend many hours searching for the right shapes and scale—the eternal struggle for the exact right rock never ends. 

Occasionally friends or family want to come rock hunting with me. So, I cut them out some cardboard shapes of what I’m after on that particular day. It doesn’t really matter if the rocks gathered aren’t anything like what I’m after, I can always put them back (mind you I never have).

I do find it interesting that art probably more, so sculpture is one of the few professions that people want to help, they want to be apart, of the process no matter how big or small their contribution is. It’s almost like the artist in everyone wants to come out and express themselves. 

The sculpture that I have created for HIDDEN at Rookwood is called Sombre

In my practice I always like to challenge myself and push myself with everything that I make. I’m continuously endeavouring to demonstrate a depth of feeling in all my creations and hope that the viewer can relate to my sculptures on some level.

My intentions with this work at HIDDEN is a sense of an emotional display of reflective and sorrow[ful] sentiment.

My sculpture Sombre is a site-specific work that I have created for HIDDEN at Rookwood. Ever since I first learnt about the exhibition here, I have always wanted to be part of it. Myself, along with a lot of other people, find cemeteries fascinating places. Steeped in stories and history. The realm of a cemetery is like no other public space. Generally, they are quiet slow-paced environments and by their very nature inadvertently generate a mindfulness which I think has an attraction all of its own.