Gordon Bennett (artist)
Gordon Bennett (born 1955) is an Australian artist of Aboriginal and Anglo-Gaelic descent. Born in Monto, Queensland, and now working in Brisbane, Bennett is a significant figure in contemporary Indigenous Australian art.
Born in Monto, Queensland (8/10/1955), of Anglo-Celtic and Aboriginal ancestry , Gordon Bennett grew up in Victoria from the age of four, when his family moved back to Queensland, to the town of Nambour. He attended high school in Brisbane, attending Brisbane State High School. He left school at fifteen and worked in a variety of trades before beginning formal art studies at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane (1986–1988). Some of his work is about what he saw when he was young. His 1991 painting Nine Ricochets won the prestigious Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship, and he rapidly established himself as a leading figure in the Australian art world. He currently lives and works in Brisbane.
Growing up, Bennett was surrounded and confronted by images of Aboriginal Australians inflicting harm on others or being violent in some form of the word. However, Bennett wanted to change the way Australia and the world saw Indigenous Australians so he took global issues and made them into artworks. The Notes to Basquiat: 911 series and the Camouflage series, eagerly reflect on the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the war in Iraq respectively, highlight Bennett’s global perspective
Yet Bennett has also expressed his discomfort with being seen as spokesman for Aboriginal people, and in a manifesto (or 'manifest toe' as he calls it) published in 1996 he spoke of his wish "to avoid banal containment as a professional Aborigine, which both misrepresents me and denies my upbringing and Scottish/English heritage," while simultaneously expressing his wish that his young daughter could grow up in a society where her life would not be defined by her race.
The National Gallery of Victoria's senior curator of indigenous art, Judith Ryan, calls Bennett "an artist's artist," at the forefront of the artists who work as postmodernists, who comment on art history and respond to the work of other great contemporary artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mondrian and Basquiat (artists whom Bennett frequently quotes in his work). "He has established his own particular style and it's intellectual. It's quite strong and 'in your face'. It is also causing people to question Australia and our identity as a nation and where we are going. He is like no other artist currently working." (The Art of Gordon Bennett, Ian McLean and Gordon Bennett, 1996).
Bennett is represented in most major public collections in Australia as well as in several important overseas collections. He works both in traditional easel paintings and in multi-media.
His works include provocative themes and concepts which anger some. When making a work, Bennett said he doesn't think of the audience. He focuses on what he wants to express.
"Gordon Bennett Education Resource". NGV. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-04.</ref>
- McLean, Ian; and Gordon Bennett (1996). The Art of Gordon Bennett. Roseville East, NSW: Craftsman House. ISBN 90-5703-221-X.