The Power Institute Foundation for Art and Visual Culture

Gordon Bennett: Selected Writings


Edited by Angela Goddard and Tim Riley Walsh

A co-publication from Power Publications
and Griffith University Art Museum


Paperback with dust jacket
RRP $45.00 AUD
ISBN 978-0-909952-01-3
66 images, including colour plates
216 pp
297 x 210 mm
890 gms

Gordon Bennett: Selected Writings is the first publication to survey the writing practice of the late Gordon Bennett (1955–2014), giving vital insight into one of Australia’s most important contemporary artists in his own words. Bringing together nearly forty published and unpublished essays, artist’s statements, letters, and interviews from across Bennett’s nearly thirty-year career, Selected Writings profiles the importance of the written word within his art and broader intellectual practice. Through its focus on Bennett’s written voice, which shifts between scholarly debate, political argument and personal reflections, this publication reveals Bennett considered art and life to be just as entangled as words and images.

Edited by Angela Goddard and Tim Riley Walsh, Selected Writings is co-published by Power Publications, Sydney, and Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane. The book also provides glimpses into Bennett’s personal archive via the reproduction of previously unseen notebooks, correspondence, sketches, preparatory compositions, and more. Offering new knowledge of his creative process, intellectual and artistic influences and professional relationships, this project amplifies Bennett’s already significant contribution to subjects of race and identity in national and global contexts, as well as reaffirming his centrality to postcolonial discourse in the twenty-first century.



Foreword / 9
Angela Goddard

Part One: In his own words

Introduction: Essays and Artist’s Statements / 15
Angela Goddard and Tim Riley Walsh

The Coming of the Light / 16
Balance, exhibition catalogue, 1990

The Persistence of Language / 16
unpublished, 1990

Re-Writing History / 18
Southern Crossings/Empty Land: In the Australian Image, exhibition catalogue, 1992

Artist’s Statement / 25
Southern Crossings/Empty Land: In the Australian Image, exhibition catalogue, 1992

Aesthetics and Iconography: An Artist’s Approach / 27
Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, exhibition catalogue, 1993

A Non-Apology / 33
unpublished, 1993

‘Bounty Hunter’ Series / 34
unpublished, 1996

The Manifest Toe / 37
The Art of Gordon Bennett, 1996

Eddie Mabo (after Mike Kelley’s Booth’s Puddle, 1985, from Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile) / 59
unpublished, 1996

Home Décor (Preston + De Stijl = Citizen) / 61
unpublished, undated (c. 1996)

Cloud Gazing / 63
Breaking Borders, exhibition catalogue, 1997

Australian Icons: Notes on Perception / 65
Double Vision: Art Histories and Colonial Histories in the Pacific, 1999

Part Two: In response

Introduction: Letters / 71
Angela Goddard and Tim Riley Walsh

Letter to Judith Hugo, 1990 / 72

Self Portrait, 1991 / 73

Letter to Gary Lee, 1991 / 73

Letters to Nadine Amadio, 1992 / 75

Letters to Eugene Carchesio, 1992 / 82

On Double Standards: An ‘Other Perspective’ / 85
Art Monthly Australia 47, 1992

Letter to Michael O’Ferrall, 1992 / 86

Letter to Peter Bellas, 1993 / 87

Letters from ‘Home Sweet Home’ Series, 1993–94 / 88

Letter to John Laws, 1994 / 90

Critiquing the Critic: An Open Letter to Sue Smith (Art Critic for The Courier Mail), 1995 / 92

Letter to Lucienne Fontannaz, 1995 / 96

Letter to Rose Johnson, 1996 / 97

Letter to Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1998 / 101
Gordon Bennett exhibition pamphlet, Sherman Galleries, published 1999

Letter to Ian McLean, 2001 / 102

Letter to Ihor Holubizky, 2006 / 107

Part Three: In conversation

Introduction: Interviews / 113
Angela Goddard and Tim Riley Walsh

Pat Hoffie, Urban Aboriginal Art: Pat Hoffie Talks with Gordon Bennett / 114
Painting: Traces of Place, 1989

Bob Lingard, A Kind of History Painting / 120
Tension 17, 1989

Anne Kirker, Gordon Bennett: Expressions of Constructed Identity / 123
Artlink 10, no. 1 & 2, 1990

Christopher Chapman, A Discussion with Gordon Bennett: The Inland Sea / 126
Artonview 1, 1995

Chris McAuliffe, Interview with Gordon Bennett / 129
What Is Appropriation? An Anthology of Writings on Australian Art in the 1980s and 1990s, 1996

Bill Wright, Conversation: Bill Wright Talks to Gordon Bennett / 135
Gordon Bennett, exhibition catalogue, 2007

Colour plates / 143

Part Four: On reflection

Uncertain Words: The Writing of Gordon Bennett / 187
Tim Riley Walsh


Index / 204

Artist’s bibliography / 209

Additional plates / 216













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