Gordon Bennett and Peter Robinson
26 April–04 June 200526 Apr–04 Jun 2005
Three Colours juxtaposes artists from either side of the Tasman who focus on the representation of indigenous identity and respond to the politics of our changing culturescape. Brisbane painter Gordon Bennett’s polemical work developed out of 1980s appropriation art and is concerned with mapping alternative histories for post-colonial Australia. In 1995, as an act of personal liberation from preconceptions about his indigenous heritage, he created a pop-art-inspired persona, John Citizen, ‘an abstraction of the Australian Mr Average, the Australian Everyman’. New Zealand’s Peter Robinson—a 3.125% Maori—came to attention for his work satirising the marketability of Maori art. His venal, vernacular works countered the prevailing cliches of Maori as aristocratic and deeply spiritual. The show includes his Strategic Plan (a laughable mind-map for achieving success in the international art world) and works from The Divine Comedy, his 2001 Venice Biennale project, concerned with nihilism and the depiction of ‘nothing’. Three Colours exploits uncanny correspondences between the two artists, for instance the way they both draw extensively on the work of African-American 1980s art star Jean-Michel Basquiat. The title refers to the three-coloured Aboriginal and Maori flags. Three Colours was curated by Zara Stanhope and toured by the Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne.
- Zara Stanhope