BFA, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, Australia, 1988
about the artist
Globally recognized as one of the most important contemporary artists in Australia, Gordon Bennett has served up unabashed commentary on the racial injustices rampant in postcolonial Australia for more than two decades. Within his painting, sculptural, and installation practice, he reenacted instances of injustice, oppression, and cruelty culled from political and religious histories of the world to illustrate his disapproval of and outrage at societal inequalities. He also integrated appropriations of his contemporaries as well as 20th-century and classical art into these compositions, establishing his work as visual ruminations on the power of recontextualization. Bennett’s narrative-textual strategy veered into self-referential abstraction later in his trajectory, as he continued to wage intellectual debates on the problems of perception and identity. The artist had been invited to participate in numerous major biennials and exhibitions around the world. Between 2007 and 2009, a major retrospective exhibition toured in Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. In 1999 and 2000, a significant exhibition of his work traveled to Ikon Gallery and the Arnolfini in the United Kingdom, as well as the Henie Onstad in Kunstsenter, Norway. The artist had received tremendous recognition for his work, winning, among others, the prestigious Moët et Chandon Australia Art Fellowship, the MacGeorge Fellowship (presented by the University of Melbourne), and the John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize from the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.