For the past 3 decades I’ve been painting the changing urban landscape to express my concern at the astounding rate of development. I seem to have an uncanny instinct for selecting subjects that are about to vanish.
I have specialised in painting industrial and maritime heritage, exploring many sites off-limits to the public.
As ‘Artist in Residence’ I was granted unprecedented access to many sites off-limits to the public, including the Pyrmont Power Station, the C.S.R. Refinery & Distillery, Cockatoo Island, the Woolloomooloo Fingerwharf, Walsh Bay Wharves, White Bay, the A.G.L. Gasworks at Mortlake, Carleton United Brewery, Eveleigh Railway Workshops & Barangaroo.
As a plein air painter, I set up my easel by the side of the road, on windswept rooftops & on demolition sites, facing the challenges of painting outdoors- distractions from workmen & passers-by, constantly changing light & Sydney’s notoriously unpredictable weather.
As the momentum of development rapidly gathered, I painted with an increasing sense of purpose. Buildings were demolished as fast as I could paint them. I paint the damaged, the doomed and the disappeared. Almost everything that I have painted has either been demolished or changed beyond all recognition: the pubs have been gentrified, working class terraces are replaced by apartment blocks and old warehouses are converted into offices. It was extremely poignant to watch their decline, decay, demolition and eventual replacement.
Now Sydney’s Working Harbour has disappeared forever. My paintings are a narrative of the decay, destruction & reconstruction of the inner-city – a metaphor for deeper changes within Australia. The mood has changed forever, & only my works remain as testament to the passing of an era.
I have won many awards, prizes & Scholarships, including the 1996 Wynne Prize for Watercolour, 1996 Marten Bequest Travelling Art Scholarship & Dyason Bequest. My work is represented in the collections of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW; Department of Defence; Artbank; University of N.S.W.; University of Sydney; the Kedumba Contemporary Drawing Gallery; many corporate, Regional Gallery & Municipal Council Collections.
Jane Bennett exhibits at:
Frances Keevil Gallery
Bay Village, 28-34 Cross St, Double Bay 2028
Tel: 02 9327 2475
Open: Tue-Fri 10-5pm Sat 10-4pm Sun 11-4pm