Frances Keevil Art Gallery

“The Hammerhead Crane has now been almost completely demolished, despite its iconic heritage status and distinguished history. Instead of painting from the more familiar viewpoint of Mrs Macquarie's Chair opposite, I tackled the daunting bureaucracy of the Navy for permission to paint 'en plein air' on Garden Island itself.


I stood directly underneath the Crane and looked up into the top of the soaring structure, to capture its sheer scale. It is the embodiment of the 18th century concept of the sublime. A painting from this series has been chosen as a finalist in both the 2014 Kogarah Art Prize and the Mosman Art Prize.


The crane itself is the best homage to the absent and largely forgotten workers who created the industrial landscapes that are now being destroyed. Spaces that have a sense of history, place and meaning, find an echo in art history. The safety nets resemble fan vaulting in a ruined Gothic abbey and the zig-zag tangle of girders and scaffolding recall Piranesi's images of the 'Carceri' or the wreckage of the dying Roman Empire.


The Hammerhead Crane was built during World War II, and symbolized industrial might, the march of progress and confidence in the values of Western civilization. The mood of past triumphalism is now tempered by the present reality of scuffed textures, rust and tarnished metal. Even as a victim of the slow death of de-industrialisation, it had retained a poignant grandeur as industrial memento mori. The last gasp of the Industrial Revolution, and of Sydney's Working Harbour. In the words of Shelley's ruin-poem Ozymandias ‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Except that a future civilization would be extremely lucky to be able to find any trace of our heroic past." 

Jane Bennett 2014

EXHIBITIONS

Jane Bennett

Under the Hammer

Exhibition dates: 18 NOVEMBER – 7 DECEMBER 2014

“The Hammerhead Crane has now been almost completely demolished, despite its iconic heritage status and distinguished history. Instead of painting from the more familiar viewpoint of Mrs Macquarie's Chair opposite, I tackled the daunting bureaucracy of the Navy for permission to paint 'en plein air' on Garden Island itself.


I stood directly underneath the Crane and looked up into the top of the soaring structure, to capture its sheer scale. It is the embodiment of the 18th century concept of the sublime. A painting from this series has been chosen as a finalist in both the 2014 Kogarah Art Prize and the Mosman Art Prize.


The crane itself is the best homage to the absent and largely forgotten workers who created the industrial landscapes that are now being destroyed. Spaces that have a sense of history, place and meaning, find an echo in art history. The safety nets resemble fan vaulting in a ruined Gothic abbey and the zig-zag tangle of girders and scaffolding recall Piranesi's images of the 'Carceri' or the wreckage of the dying Roman Empire.


The Hammerhead Crane was built during World War II, and symbolized industrial might, the march of progress and confidence in the values of Western civilization. The mood of past triumphalism is now tempered by the present reality of scuffed textures, rust and tarnished metal. Even as a victim of the slow death of de-industrialisation, it had retained a poignant grandeur as industrial memento mori. The last gasp of the Industrial Revolution, and of Sydney's Working Harbour. In the words of Shelley's ruin-poem Ozymandias ‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Except that a future civilization would be extremely lucky to be able to find any trace of our heroic past." 

Jane Bennett 2014



EXHIBITIONS

Jane Bennett

Under the Hammer

Exhibition dates: 18 NOVEMBER – 7 DECEMBER 2014

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To be opened by The Honourable Peter Collins AM, RFD, QC, RANR
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Frances Keevil Gallery

3-6 Bay Village, 28-34 Cross Street Double Bay NSW 2028
02 9327 2475 info@franceskeevilgallery.com.au www.franceskeevilgallery.com.au
GALLERY HOURS: Tues to Sat 10 - 5 Sun 11 - 4 Mon Closed
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