1995/0055 Painting for a New Republic (The inland sea)

Painting for a New Republic (The inland sea)

Artist

Gordon BENNETT
Aboriginal/Indigenous
Birth:
19 Oct 1955
 in
Monto, Queensland
Death:
03 Jun 2014
 in
Brisbane, Queensland

Artwork

Title
Painting for a New Republic (The inland sea)
Date
1994
Medium/Material
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Dimensions
232 x 507cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Credit line
Gift of the Friends of the Art Gallery, 1995
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession Number
1995/0055
Currently not on display

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Extended Label

In Painting for a new Republic (The inland sea), Bennett pictures the history of Australia as a grand moral scenography. However despite the scale and baroque choreography of the set, there is no clear narrative. Its monumental vision might even be a self-portrait rafher than historiography showing Bennett's interior sea, the curved space of his mind as he looks out through his left eye to a mirror reflecting his visage... Or is this painting a screen of the Australian imaginary?...Bennett's image of the new republic is framed by the rhetoric of history and identity, but not with the usual clear vistas of nationalism. History, he seems to be saying, cannot be foreclosed, The outside, here pictured like the sunlit enlightenment and neo-classical rigour of republican virtue which Plato and his followers assured us was outside the cave, is not offered as an escape. Rather, it is haunted by the inland sea. Bennett, then, offers no panacea for the future, only troubling questions about origins and genealogies...1Reference: 1 McLean, Ian The Art of Gordon Bennett (Sydney: Craftsman House, 1996) pp. 110-112.

Curatorial insightIn Painting for a new Republic (The inland sea), Bennett pictures the history of Australia as a grand moral scenography. However, despite the scale and baroque choreography of the set, there is no clear narrative. Its monumental vision might even be a self-portrait rather than historiography, showing Bennett's interior sea, the curved space of his mind as he looks out through his left eye to a mirror reflecting his visage. Or is this painting a screen of the Australian imaginary? Bennett's image of the new republic is framed by the rhetoric of history and identity, but not with the usual clear vistas of nationalism. History, he seems to be saying, cannot be foreclosed. The outside, here pictured like the sunlit enlightenment and neo-classical rigour of republican virtue which Plato and his followers assured us was outside the cave, is not offered as an escape. Rather, it is haunted by the inland sea. Bennett, then, offers no panacea for the future, only troubling questions about origins and genealogies'. (McLean, The Art of Gordon Bennett, 1996)

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Vernon id: 14090