Be Polite is an exhibition of largely unseen works on paper by one of Australia’s most visionary and critical artists, Gordon Bennett (1955-2014). On tour from the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane, this curated selection of Bennett’s works on paper comprises drawing, painting, watercolour, poetry, and essays from the early 1990s through to the early 2000s, a period that produced work of remarkable force and revealed the artist’s working methods, research focuses, and ultimately his ambitions for his work.
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, an approach Bennett played a leading role in developing throughout the 1980s and continued to explore in his successful career.
Gordon Bennett: Be Polite has been produced by the IMA and curated by Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh. The accompanying catalogue is co-published by the IMA and Sternberg Press.