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Gordon Bennett Artist Essay

Gordon Bennett was born on 8 October 1955 in Monto, Queensland of Aboriginal and English/Scottish heritage. Bennett enrolled as a mature–age student at Queensland College of Art in 1986 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) degree in 1988. Gordon Bennett is a contemporary artist and says his earlier art work where influenced by his personal experiences. Bennett’s work is defining Australian Culture and Aboriginal History, he wanted to change the way Australia and the world saw Indigenous Australians. Bennett includes a focus on the role and power of language, including visual representations, in shaping identity, culture, social issues and history.

Bennett’s work alludes to visual and verbal violence of history of black and white relations, his scenes from outside Australia, deconstructing history and exposing the ideologies and structures that shape history. Bennett works both in traditional easel paintings and in multi-media, Photography, printmaking, video, performance and installation. The critical and aesthetic strategies of postmodernism have had significant impact on the development of his art practice.

His work is layered and complex and often incorporates images, styles or references drawn from sources such as social history text books, western art history and Indigenous art. The emphasis on making ‘art about art’ which is the focus of his non-representational abstract paintings, contrasts clearly with the focus on social critique that was integral to Bennett’s earlier work, and is intended to provoke viewers thinking and opens up new possibilities for understanding the subjects he explores.


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