The light fades but the gods remain is a major exhibition at Monash Gallery of Art
, showcasing two key series by Bill Henson exploring the suburb of Glen Waverley where he grew up.
In celebration of MGAs 25th anniversary, Bill Henson was commissioned to revisit the suburb of his childhood and to produce a new body of work that reflects upon his earlier series Untitled 198586, known by many as the suburban series.
This ground-breaking commission offers an unparalleled insight into one of Australias most revered artists, as he explores the notion of home, intensifying the everyday to a point of dramatic revelation and romantic beauty.
"In Hensons new works, revisiting Glen Waverley after some 35 years, we might expect to find the suburban sprawl denser than before, or replaced by blocks of flats and shopping centres but, on the contrary, there is hardly a sign of human presence in these pictures, apart from an apparently abandoned armchair in the middle of the woods in two of the images. On the contrary, the emphasis now is entirely on the life of nature that mysteriously subsists in pockets in the middle of an overbuilt environment. But since the earlier work was also about the deeper and ageless rhythms of life, both in nature and in human beings, that surround and flow through the narrow cultural world of suburbia, there is a greater continuity between the two series than may at first appear.
Roads unsealed dirt paths through the woods are an important motif, suggestive of a moral or spiritual journey, for many of them end in light. But absorption in the life of nature is everywhere evoked through the density of trees and undergrowth, and Hensons way of playing with depth of field to bring some elements into focus while leaving others to envelope us in a dreamlike way." Christopher Allen, The Australian
The exhibition is accompanied by the book The light fades but the gods remain, co-published with Thames & Hudson Australia. Hardback and clothbound it includes over 150 pages of Hensons most personal works and texts relating to the two series.