Internationally acclaimed as one of Australia’s most significant and critically engaged contemporary artists, Gordon Bennett came to art as a mature adult, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art), at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, in 1988.
Rejecting and questioning racial categorisations and stereotypes, and as an act of personal liberation from preconceptions about his Indigenous heritage, Bennett created an ongoing, pop-art inspired alter ego, John Citizen, whom he says is ‘an abstraction of the Australian Mr Average, the Australian Everyman’.
In the late 1990s, Bennett began a ‘dialogue’ with the work of the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, a New York artist seen by Bennett as someone outside Australia who shared both a similar Western cultural tradition and an obsession with drawing, semiotics and visual language. This dialogue continues with his current Abstraction series.
Bennett has been the recipient of major awards including the Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship (1991) and the John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, National Gallery of Victoria (1997). He has achieved national and international recognition, with representation in biennales in Sydney, Venice, Kwangju and Shanghai, and major contemporary art exhibitions in USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Prague, Italy, Denmark, Canada, South Africa and Japan. His work is collected widely and is represented in major public art collections within Australia.