History of Our World

Lux et Nox | Bill Henson

Posted in Art, Photography, Print by R on January 8, 2010

Untitled #31, 1998

Untitled #32, 1998

Untitled #33, 1998

Untitled #59, 1998

Untitled #74, 1998

Untitled #75, 1998

Untitled #10, 1998/1999/2000

Untitled #21, 1998/1999/2000

Untitled #39, 2000/2003

Untitled #46, 2000/2003

Untitled #69, 2000/2003

Untitled #84, 2000/2003

Untitled #95, 2000/2003

Untitled #110, 2000/2003

Untitled #114, 2000/2003

Untitled #115, 2000/2003

Australian artist Bill Henson is a passionate and visionary explorer of twilight zones, of the ambiguous spaces that exist between day and night, nature and civilization, youth and adulthood, male and female. His photographs of landscapes at dusk, of the industrial no-man’s land that lies on the outskirts of our cities, and of androgynous girls and boys adrift in the nocturnal turmoil of adolescence are painterly tableaux that continue the tradition of romantic literature and painting in our post-industrial age. The rich chiaroscuro, the oscillating light, and the masterful composition of his photographs map enigmatic states that escape rationalism’s iron grip, providing a much-needed antidote to a culture that increasingly looses itself in a numbing vortex of blinking screens and glittering surfaces.

Were it not for Henson’s primary, almost devotional need to elicit empathy for his troubled human subjects, there’s a feeling that nothing would prevent the black in his photographs from completely absorbing his attention and extinguishing his work.

___

Lux et Nox

Bill Henson : Dennis Cooper

Scalo

2002

___

Bill Henson

Roslyn Oxley9 gallery, Sydney

Scalo

R

(Apologies for the dirtiness of the scanner.)

Paris Opera Project 1990/91, Bill Henson

Posted in Photography by B on October 20, 2009

Bill Henson, Paris Opera Project, 1990/91
Bill Henson, Paris Opera Project, 1990/91
Bill Henson, Paris Opera Project, 1990/91Bill Henson, Paris Opera Project, 1990/91Bill Henson, Paris Opera Project, 1990/91
Bill Henson, Paris Opera Project, 1990/91

Paris Opera Project, 1990/91
From a series of 50 type C photographs.

Bill Henson’s work is a compelling blend of romantic fulfillment and melancholic uncertainty. The images he composes resonates with a profound sense of truth and finitude but the stories are never fully told and we are inevitably left in suspense as if something, it seems, is always about to happen. His mysterious roads are which lead not to a horizon but to a seductive infinity are fraught with dubious premise.

Henson’s compelling images invoke the descriptive powers of two words of contradictory allusion and sentiment: baroque and brooding. The former, with connotations of grandeur and opulence, the latter evoking moods of silence, introspection and certain subversion, capture the beguiling yet unsettling invitations that echo through Henson’s work. One of the problems with photography is that we tend to assume the photograph to be reality, to be tangible proof of the real thus have an authority that transcends the options of the interpretive. Bill Henson’s worlds are real, just as they are disturbingly beautiful, but they are also beyond the usual realms of commonplace. Of course Bill Henson deals with images but in his handling of body, light, shadow and texture he is far more a creator than mere recorder of images and experiences. His works are paintings in all but technique. Perhaps that is why, for all our recognition of both content and intent, we remain essentially as observers, or more truthfully voyeurs, of his dramas. They invite us to enjoin but we are unable to properly step into the frame.

The exhibition commissioned by the Paris Opera was a fuller development for Henson in both his use of colour and in the way he presents human faces in interplay through the convention , the framing device, of the face intent on music: whether in apprehension or indifference, or with inscrutable self possession. Watching faces, lit from below, sit in a half light that suggests that the only illumination comes from the stage and what these faces suggest is always a revelation of some inwardness before the event: the musical drama unfolding in-front of our eyes. The drama of portraiture in repose is itself intensely dramatic and Henson has done wonders to make his camera suggest the gradations and modulations of a painterly apprehension. It is a drama full of shadows and chiaroscuro, of Rembrandtian depths of brown and gold and the blackest green.

Mnemosyne, Bill Henson

___

Bill Henson

Paris Opera Project, 1990/91, Bill Henson

Art Gallery Of NSW, Sydney, Australia

B

Tagged with: ,

Untitled #69, Bill Henson, 2000-2003

Posted in Art, Photography by R on January 16, 2009
Tagged with: ,