Tom Benner: Call of the Wild
April 15 to July 02, 2011
This exhibition features a selection of works that span the career of London artist Tom Benner. The works reflect on our relationship with the natural world and explore issues of threat and survival.
Benner's cross-disciplinary approach to his work makes use of drawing, painting, printmaking, installation, while his ambitious sculptures utilize a diverse array of materials including metal, fibreglass and wood. Concerned with materiality, the works are strongly rooted within a tradition of narrative and story-telling.
Extermination is a central theme within many of Benner's works. Call of the Wild features Benner’s pivotal Hanging Fin (Whale) (1983) together with more recent pieces such as Orca (2006) and Shrines (2010). Other works in the exhibition explore local land and history. Tecumseh (1994-95), for example, a mixed media installation pays homage to the Shawnee chief’s attempt to unite fifteen tribes against the Americans with the aim of forming a distinct Aboriginal confederation.
Despite the politically charged content, Benner avoids making judgments, rather, by grounding the work within his historical research, he allows the viewer to draw their own conclusions.