Painting for a New Republic (The inland sea)

Gordon BENNETT: artist

Not On Display

About the work

In Painting for a new Republic (The inland sea), Bennett pictures the history of Australia as a grand moral scenography. However despite the scale and baroque choreography of the set, there is no clear narrative. Its monumental vision might even be a self-portrait rafher than historiography showing Bennett's interior sea, the curved space of his mind as he looks out through his left eye to a mirror reflecting his visage... Or is this painting a screen of the Australian imaginary?

...Bennett's image of the new republic is framed by the rhetoric of history and identity, but not with the usual clear vistas of nationalism. History, he seems to be saying, cannot be foreclosed, The outside, here pictured like the sunlit enlightenment and neo-classical rigour of republican virtue which Plato and his followers assured us was outside the cave, is not offered as an escape. Rather, it is haunted by the inland sea. Bennett, then, offers no panacea for the future, only troubling questions about origins and genealogies...1

Reference: 1 McLean, Ian The Art of Gordon Bennett (Sydney: Craftsman House, 1996) pp. 110-112.
Painting for a New Republic (The inland sea)
Artist/Maker and role
Gordon BENNETT: artist
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
232 x 507cm
Credit line
Gift of the Friends of the Art Gallery, 1995
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.