June 30 to September 24, 2017
Alvin Balkind Gallery and Events Room
The Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of largely unseen works on paper by one of Australia’s most visionary and critical artists, Gordon Bennett (1955–2014).
Working closely with the Estate of Gordon Bennett and IMA Brisbane the show will comprise a selection of works on paper including drawing, painting, watercolour, poetry, and essays from the early 1990s through to the early 2000s. Though rarely seen in exhibition contexts, Bennett’s drawing and script form the foundation of his practice. Paper is the site where imagery, words and ideas often found their first expression before being combined into the large-scale conceptual paintings for which Bennett is known. Despite their relatively small scale, works in Be Polite embrace rich layers of Western and Australian Indigenous art history and contemporary politics, a direction Bennett played a leading role in developing throughout the 1980s and continued to explore in his successful career. As such the shared colonial histories with Canada and in particular the plight of local First Nations are set in dialogue across continents. Issues, events and histories are given compelling voice in these provocative and often disturbing images.
Accompanying the exhibition is a publication featuring contributions by Helen Hughes, Julie Nagam and Ian McLean is published with Sternberg Press.
First presented at IMA, Brisbane and subsequently at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2016, the exhibition will evolve and be reconfigured with a new selection of works at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. This version will then travel to McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton in 2018.
Be Polite is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, Australia Council for the Arts, Ministry of Communications and the Arts through Visions of Australia, The Estate of Gordon Bennett, Milani Gallery, and Sutton Gallery.
Bennett has been the subject of major solo presentations and retrospectives at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, (touring, Europe), 1999–2000, Griffith University, Brisbane, (touring, Australia), 2004–2005, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, (touring, Australia), 2007–2009. International recognition and attention for Bennett’s work has been growing with his inclusion in the acclaimed dOCUMENTA (13), in Kassel in 2012, and in the 8th Berlin Biennale in 2014.