Cover image of the review

Louise Hearman

8 Apr 2017
18 Feb - 14 May 2017

Curated by Anna Davis

Louise Hearman complains about the way that in every review of her work she is compared to her partner Bill Henson, while in reviews of Henson’s work she is rarely, if ever, mentioned.

Of course, she is absolutely right: the male Henson is held up as the standard against which she is measured, whereas the female Hearman does not reciprocally set the standard for Henson. We can read all sorts of gender politics into this, compounded by the fact that the comparison between the two bodies of work is so counter-intuitive. One is light, the other heavy; one is modest in scale, the other increasingly Baroque; one is intuitive, mercurial, devoid of any psychology, the other calculated, indeed over-calculated, and burdened with meaning.

In fact, if anything, we might even say that it is Henson who works like a painter and Hearman who is more like a photographer. One arduously constructs what we see, the other simply takes what is given her. One’s work lingers in a perpetual twilight of ominous implication, the other’s looms up suddenly out of the darkness and passes us by just as quickly, like the metal reflective markers on the side of the road.

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