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GORDON BENNETT




 
ARTIST PROFILE

GORDON BENNETT
Born 1955, Monto, Queensland

Gordon Bennett came to art as a mature adult, graduating in Fine Art at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, in 1988. He quickly established himself as an artist equipped both intellectually and aesthetically to address issues relating to the role of language and systems of thought in forging identity.

Much of Bennett’s work is concerned with mapping alternative histories and ideas in post-colonial Australia. He rejects racial labels and stereotypes. In 1995, as an act of personal liberation from preconceptions about his Indigenous heritage, Bennett created an ongoing, pop-art inspired alter ego, John Citizen, whom he says is ‘an abstraction of the Australian Mr Average, the Australian Everyman’.

In the late 1990s, Bennett began a ‘dialogue’ with the work of the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, a New York artist seen by Bennett as someone outside Australia who shared both a similar western cultural tradition and an obsession with drawing, semiotics and visual language. Bennett’s ‘Notes to Basquiat’ culminated in a series of works produced in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York in 2001. Bennett’s subsequent ‘Camouflage’ series (2003) references the war in Iraq and issues of secrecy. His most recent abstract works extend the notion of camouflage, dissolving the appearance of difference.

Since 1989, Bennett has held 50 solo exhibitions and achieved national and international recognition for his work, with representation in biennales in Sydney, Venice, Kwangju, Shanghai and Cuba, and in major exhibitions of contemporary art in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Prague (Czech Republic), Italy, Denmark, Canada, South Africa and Japan.

The Art of Gordon Bennett by Ian McLean (including an essay by Gordon Bennett), was published by Craftsman House in 1996. Bennett has received several major awards, including the Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship (1991) and the John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, National Gallery of Victoria (1997). His work is held in all major public art collections in Australia.

BIOGRAPHY
1986–88 Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art), Queensland College of Art, Brisbane
1995 Australian Network for Art and Technology Summer School, Brisbane
Lives and works in Brisbane

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2007 Gordon Bennett Survey Exhibition, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gordon Bennett, Viewing Room, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
1999–2006 Sherman Galleries, Sydney
1993–2006 Sutton Gallery, Melbourne
1989–2006 Bellas/Milani Gallery, Brisbane
2004–06 Out of Print: Gordon Bennett, Dell Gallery, Queensland College of Art Touring Exhibition, Brisbane
2002--–06 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2000 Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, Visible Art Foundation Public Billboard Project, Republic Tower, Melbourne
1999–2000 History and Memory in the Art of Gordon Bennett, Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK; Arnolfini, Bristol, UK; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo
1998 Notes to Basquiat, Grammercy International Contemporary Art Fair, New York
1996 Mirror Mirror: The Narcissism of Coloniality, Canberra School of Art Gallery, Canberra
1994 Present Wall, installation, Institute Building, Adelaide
1993 Painting History, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA), Adelaide; Australian National University Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
Mirrorama, Ian Potter Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne
1991 Dialogues with Self, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
1990 Psycho(d)rama, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2007 The Story of Australian Printmaking 1801–2005, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2006 Prism: Contemporary Australian Art, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo
Queensland Live! Contemporary Art on Tour, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
2005 International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Prague 2005,
The National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic
2004–05 Three Colours, Gordon Bennett and Peter Robinson, Heide Museum of Modern Art Touring Exhibition, Melbourne
2003 Isle of Refuge, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney, national touring exhibition
2000 Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai
Biennale of Sydney 2000, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Kwangju Biennale 2000, Kwangju, South Korea
1999 Australian Perspecta 99: Living Here and Now: Art and Politics, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
The Third Asia–Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art: Beyond the Future, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
New Worlds, Contemporary Art from Australia, Canada & South Africa, Canada House Gallery, London; Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg
Conceptualist Art: Points of Origin 1950s–1980s, Queens Museum of Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Art: Worlds in Dialogue, Ludwig Museum, Cologne
1998 Remanence, Old Magistrates’ Court, Melbourne Festival, Melbourne
Telling Tales, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney; Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria
The Australian Drawing Biennale, Australian National University Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, touring exhibition
1997 Video Positive ’97: Escaping Gravity, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, UK
In Place (Out of Time): Contemporary Art in Australia, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, UK
1996 Systems End: Contemporary Art in Australia, OXY Gallery, Osaka; Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone, Japan; Dong-Ah Gallery, Seoul; Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Perception and Perspective, Next Wave Festival, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Inclusion/Exclusion: Art in the Age of Post-Colonialism and Global Migration, Kunstlerhaus Burgring, Graz, Austria
Colonial Post-Colonial, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne
Fourth Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
1995 Pathways 1, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
TransCulture, Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, Biennale of Venice, Italy; Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Naoshima Island, Japan
1994–95 Antipodean Currents, Guggenheim Museum, New York; John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington, DC
1994 Localities of Desire: Contemporary Art in an International World, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Present Wall, The Institute Building, Adelaide Biennial, SA
Fifth Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba
Identities: Art from Australia, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei; Wollongong City Gallery, NSW; Gold Coast City Art Gallery, QLD
1993 Inner-Land: Australian Contemporary Art, Soko Gallery, Tokyo
Confess and Conceal: 11 Insights from Contemporary South East Asia and Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, touring South East Asia
Fifth Australian Sculpture Triennial, Melbourne
Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf; Hayward Gallery, London; Louisiana Museum of Contemporary Art, Louisiana; Humlebaek, Denmark
9th Biennale of Sydney: The Boundary Rider, Bond Store 3/4, Sydney; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
1992–94 Southern Crossings: Contemporary Australian Photography, Camerawork Gallery, London, touring Britain
1992 Strangers in Paradise: Contemporary Australian Art to Korea, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
1991 Three Artists, Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne
1990 Balance 1990: Views, Visions, Influences, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Paraculture, Artists’ Space, New York
1989 Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

PERFORMANCE VIDEOS
1994 Performance with Object for the Expiation of Guilt, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
D.U.H! (Down Under Homi), Sutton Gallery, Melbourne
1995 Performance with Object for the Expiation of Guilt: Apple Premiere
Mix, Regional Gallery, Noosa, QLD
1996 Performance with Object for the Expiation of Guilt: Violence and Grief Remix, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

AWARDS
1991 Winner, Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship
1993 Artist in residence, The University of Melbourne, MacGeorge Fellowship, Melbourne
1994 Pine Rivers Art Prize, Logan City Painting Prize
1996 Anniversary Creative Arts Fellow, Australian National University, Canberra
1997 SCEGGS Redlands and Westpac Art Award, Sydney
John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
1998 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award, Grafton Regional Gallery, NSW

SELECTED COLLECTIONS
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Museum of Sydney
Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne
University Art Museum, Queensland University, Brisbane
Artbank, Sydney
Vizard Collection, Melbourne
Wesfarmers Ltd, Perth
Private Collections

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bennett, Gordon, ‘Aesthetics and Iconography: An artists' approach’, Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, exhibition catalogue, Kunstsammlung Nordrein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, 1993, pp. 85–91
Hoorn, Jeanette ‘Positioning the post-colonial subject: History and memory in the art of Gordon Bennett’, Art & Australia, vol. 31, no. 2, summer 1993, pp. 216–226
Lingard, Bob, ‘Painting history’, Gordon Bennett, exhibition catalogue, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide, 1993
McLean, Ian, ‘Psycho(dr)ama mirror line: Reading Gordon Bennett's installation Mirrorama’, Third Text, no. 25, winter 1993–94, pp. 77–80
Rizvi, Fazal, ‘(Re)membering, (Dis)membering: 'Aborignality' and the art of Gordon Bennett’, Third Text, no. 26, spring 1994, pp. 75–89
Friis-Hansen, Dana & Nanjo, Fumio, ‘Gordon Bennett’, Transculture: La Biennale di Venezia, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, 1995,
pp. 18–19, 87–92
McLean, Ian & Bennett, Gordon, The Art of Gordon Bennett, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1996
McLean, Ian, White Aborigines: Identity Politics in Australian Art, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1998
Gordon Bennett’s ‘Home Décor: The joker in the pack’, Law/Text/Culture: In the wake of Terra Nullius, School of Law, Macquarie University, Australia, vol. 4, 1998
Thomas, Nicholas, Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture, Thames & Hudson, UK, 1999, pp. 181, 199–223
Dimitriadis, Greg, & McCarthy, Cameron, Reading and Teaching the Postcolonial: From Baldwin to Basquiat and Beyond, Teachers College Press, New York, 2001, pp. 80–88
Laura Murray Cree (ed.), Twenty: Sherman Galleries 1986–2006, Craftsman House (Thames and Hudson), Melbourne, 2006
Ashley Crawford, 'Australian art – it's an Aboriginal thing' (McCulloch's Encyclopedia of Australian Art), Australian Art Collector, issue 38, October–December 2006, pp. 100–101
Rex Butler (ed.), Radical Revisionism: An Anthology of Writings on Australian Art, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2006
Smee, Sebastian, ‘In the mix’, Visual Arts, Weekend Australian, 22–23 September 2007, pp. 18–19



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