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b. 1955, Australia

Bill Henson Biography

Bill Henson is a widely acclaimed Australian contemporary photographer. Henson has exhibited extensively, both in his native Australia since his first solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in 1975 at the age of 19, and internationally.

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Henson's photographs explore themes of the Romantic movement such as the Sublime in contrast with intimacy found in the everyday moment. His use of chiaroscuro and a reduced palette coupled with a tendency to underexpose creates images that recall Flemish still-lifes and the works of Caravaggio. Henson, who describes his subject matter through shadow as much as through light, manages to evoke a sense of uncertainty and beauty, not only in his figure studies but also his photographs of seemingly banal landscapes such as those in his Suburban Series.

Bill Henson represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and has been involved in a number of major exhibitions including Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center of Photography in New York (2003). A comprehensive survey of the artist's work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, in 2005 attracted record visitor numbers for a contemporary art exhibition in Australia.

Henson's work can be found internationally in public collections at the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

Bill Henson Featured Artworks

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Untitled 1985–1986 by Bill Henson contemporary artwork
Bill HensonUntitled 1985–1986Archival inkjet pigment print
128 x 100 cm
Starkwhite Enquire
Untitled 1985–1986 #106 D by Bill Henson contemporary artwork
Bill HensonUntitled 1985–1986 #106 DArchival inkjet pigment print
128 x 100 cm
Starkwhite Enquire
Untitled 1985–1986 #150 by Bill Henson contemporary artwork
Bill HensonUntitled 1985–1986 #150Archival inkjet pigment print
128 x 100 cm
Starkwhite Enquire
Untitled by Bill Henson contemporary artwork
Bill HensonUntitled, 2008-2009Archival inkjet pigment print
127 x 180 cm (incl frame)
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery Contact Gallery
Untitled by Bill Henson contemporary artwork
Bill HensonUntitled, 2001-2021Archival inkjet pigment print
127 x 180 cm (incl frame)
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery Contact Gallery
Untitled by Bill Henson contemporary artwork
Bill HensonUntitled, 2016 /17Archival inkjet pigment print
127 x 180 cm
Tolarno Galleries Contact Gallery
Untitled by Bill Henson contemporary artwork
Bill HensonUntitled, 2016/17Archival inkjet pigment print
180 x 127 cm
Tolarno Galleries Contact Gallery
Untitled by Bill Henson contemporary artwork
Bill HensonUntitled, 2016 /17Archival inkjet pigment print
152.5 x 182 cm
Tolarno Galleries Contact Gallery

Bill Henson Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Bill Henson, 1985–2021 at Starkwhite, Auckland
Closed
21 May–19 June 2021 Bill Henson 1985–2021 StarkwhiteAuckland
Contemporary art exhibition, Bill Henson, Bill Henson at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Closed
5 March–3 April 2021 Bill Henson Roslyn Oxley9 GallerySydney
Contemporary art exhibition, Dale Frank, Fiona Hall, Bill Henson, Tracey Moffatt, Tom Polo, Sydney Contemporary 2020 at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Online Only, Sydney
Closed
1–31 October 2020 Dale Frank, Fiona Hall, Bill Henson, Tracey Moffatt, Tom Polo Sydney Contemporary 2020 Roslyn Oxley9 GalleryOnline Only

Bill Henson Represented By

Bill Henson In Ocula Magazine

Bill Henson Ocula Conversation Bill Henson By Anna Dickie, Hong Kong

We seem increasingly incapable of rising above a righteous prurience in public debate around matters involving the depiction of the human form.

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In Ocula Advisory

Frieze OVR Highlights:
Philip Guston Advisory Pick

At times surreal and lugubrious, Philip Guston uses visceral texture as a vehicle for ridiculing our modes of living.

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Bill Henson In Related Press

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Bill Henson’s past and present collide in The light fades but the gods remain Related Press Bill Henson’s past and present collide in The light fades but the gods remain 14 August 2019, Art Guide Australia

The light fades but the gods remain, the new Bill Henson exhibition at Monash Gallery of Art (MGA), Melbourne, opens with a pairing of opposites. As you enter the exhibition, Untitled 42, 1985-86, a photograph of a suburban house with a front lawn at either dawn or dusk, is to your right.

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Review: Bill Henson at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne Related Press Review: Bill Henson at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne 16 May 2018, Art Guide Australia

As the lift doors open on Tolarno Galleries, where Bill Henson's latest collection of untitled photographs is currently on display, the subdued temple-like atmosphere is immediately affecting. It encourages a distinct downward-shift in gear from the bustle and blare of the street below. The blinds are drawn. The polished black surface of the floor...

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Close encounters at Auckland Art Fair Related Press Close encounters at Auckland Art Fair 3 June 2016, ArtAsiaPacific

If the big global fairs feel as familiar as ever, they are also increasingly alienating to many of us, because they have lost a core sense of intimacy and shared community. Generally they reflect the globalization of the market (Ai Weiwei is now perennially presented), but most often regional contexts are eschewed in favor of a grand mash-up of...

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Cuts run deep: Is Australia’s ‘coup culture’ killing its cultural heart? Related Press Cuts run deep: Is Australia’s ‘coup culture’ killing its cultural heart? 25 January 2016, Apollo Magazine

In the space of five years, Australia has seen five prime ministers attempt to take the reins of an increasingly erratic and jittery federal parliament. In tandem, Australia’s art world keenly felt each twist and turn; moments of optimism were eclipsed by fear and doubt with the election of the right wing conservative government led by Tony...

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