Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists, NT Cat No. BB080418
Private Collection, NSW
Cooee Art, NSW
Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists
Billy Benn was born in the Harts Range, 200 km north-east of Alice Springs. As a young man, he worked in the local mine and learned to paint in watercolour from the Chinese wife of one of the miners. He did not begin painting in earnest, however, until 2000.
The influence of Chinese painting traditions on Benn’s art can be seen in the scale and perspective of his works, their layered colour, and their self-assured brushstrokes. Though painted with acrylics, the colours are arranged like a classic watercolour palette. These are applied as washes before thicker impasto paint is added.
In this work golden yellows, bright greens, pastel blues and ash white, are used to create the land-form and features. Benn whips up skies and lays down slopes and escarpments with fluid single movements, as in the laying down of traditional Chinese brushstrokes.
Billy Benn’s art has often been critically located outside of the art world category of fine art. Journalist Nicholas Rothwell was one of many writers to refer to him as an outsider artist, a status conferred due to his stylistically naive approach, his mental condition, and the fact that he was characterised as ‘lost between worlds’.Share