from the Paris Opera Project series 1990-91
type C photograph
124.6 x 124.1 cm irreg.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
© Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Bill Henson is one of Australia's leading contemporary artists. His powerful and edgy photographs approach the painterly and the cinematic, bringing together the formal and classical with the gritty, casual dramas of the everyday. Henson defines and redefines his subjects with a rigour that is inseparable from his technical command. He is a master of the use of light and dark in the tradition of the great European masters. Beautiful, confronting, and unforgettable his images capture a universal essence and enliven our own sense of being.
This landmark exhibition, which is organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, is the first major survey of Bill Henson's work and includes more than 350 works from more than a dozen series since 1974.
'The work might begin with a fleeing impression from first-hand experience or in a piece of music I am always drawn back to, or perhaps in a paragraph of writing I cannot forget – and then it takes its own course. I become like a participant in some larger process I happen to be fascinated by.'