3 April 2001
GORDON BENNETT (B. 1955)
signed, titled and dated 'G Bennett '90/Cats Cradle' (on the reverse)
oil and acrylic on canvas (2 panels)
120 x 60 cm (overall)
Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1990
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G. Dixon, Holocaust Island, Brisbane, 1990 (Front cover)
Brisbane, Bellas Gallery, Gordon Bennett, 1990
Gordon Bennett's Cat's Cradle (1990) was originally part of the same exhibition as the well documented "Moët et Chandon Fellowship" prize-winning entry The Nine Ricochets (Fall Down Black Fella, Jump Up White Fella). Like much of Bennett's work, it employs the technique of montage, placing two square (60 x 60 cs) canvases on top of one another. In the bottom panel a Christ-like figure plays with a "cat's cradle" of perspective lines while looking skyward. In the top panel a yellow sun breaks through clouds to form a replica of Harold Thomas' famous Aboriginal flag.
Are we to transcend the rational order of geometry - Bennett's code for all those ways in which European civilisation has fixed and controlled its native populations - to rise towards the freedom of the heavens above? Is this Christ-like figure to tangle or sort out the skein of lines he holds in his hands?
The answer to these questions hinges on that stripe of thick black paint which runs between the two halves of the work. In this, it might be compared to that small red canvas board depicting a turning fork that connects the two parts of Nine Ricochets. How these two spaces - the geometric and the spiritual, the worldly and the utopian - interact is the ultimate topic of all of Bennett's work.
We are grateful to Rex Butler for this catalogue entry
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