From Carrie Miller…
Bill Henson is often described as Australia’s most successful contemporary artist. This would be enough to pull a crowd to his latest solo exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, but as we are constantly reminded, not only by the mainstream media who love a moral panic but equally by the elite arts media who are pre-occupied with defending artists against philistine attacks, Henson pulls crowds for other reasons. His figurative works depict young people on the cusp of adolescence in ways that throw into relief the already ambiguous nature of this psycho-sexual developmental stage.
Henson has been making images like this for more than twenty years. And while it’s only fairly recently that his work has been viewed through a sexualised lens, what’s interesting is the way that both sides of the debate that’s heated up around his practice have lost sight of the work itself. This is a great opportunity for audiences to judge it for themselves by experiencing it directly. As the artist himself says: ‘everything we know of the world comes to us through our bodies’; ironically, it is a denial of this type of bodily knowledge that is perhaps at the heart of the Henson controversy on both sides.
Until October 13
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Paddington
Pic: Bill Henson ‘Untitled’ 2011-2012, archival print on paper, Courtesy the artist & Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.
The Art Life’s ‘Exhibitions’ section previews new and upcoming shows of note. Like to be included? Send info + pics to: the art life at hot mail dot com. Include “Exhibitions” in the subject line.