Rob Onnes is an established New Zealand sculptor working predominantly with steel and copper, exhibiting in many group and solo shows in New Zealand.
Originally from Waikato and based in Auckland until recently where he has become best known for his monumental steel works. In March 2015, Onnes relocated to Detroit where he is 333 Midland, in Highland Park.
Onnes attended a summer school course on sketching and oil painting run by Michael Shepherd at Elam in Auckland in 1994, and a workshop on abstract painting by Brendan McGorry in 2010, but since 2007 he was drawn to sculpture as his main artistic medium.
Onnes’s background in electronics and as a developer has influenced the current processes he uses which include CAD design, CNC cutting and MIG welding.
One of the unique distinctions about his work is his interest in the constraints and possibilities found with using sheet metal to design three dimensional forms. Whilst they have the presence of a solid cast work they use quite a different process which Onnes has worked on perfecting over many years. The use of steel and copper allows the construction of substantial forms, yet they maintain an earthy organic quality which suit the themes of his works.
Much of his inspiration comes from modern industrial design and contemporary art critics including Dennis Dutton.