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Breamlea, Wadawurrung Country, is a secluded seaside hamlet on Victoria’s coast. It was known as ‘a hidden paradise’ when Ben and his family lived there, nestled in the sand dunes for twenty golden years. The amazing wetland sunsets and the Moonah trees along the roadside were great sources of artistic inspiration.
'The vivid colours of Ben Fennessy’s recent landscapes express his experience of the environment. At the root of his work is the English tradition of landscape painting, the pastoral and romantic landscapes of Gainsborough, Constable and Turner. However the intense contrast of colour in Fennessy’s paintings evoke the drama inherent in the Australian environment: fire, flood and ocean gales. On Ash Wednesday, as he stood in the shallows on the foreshore at Lorne watching the fire front explode across the horizon, he recalls being struck by the breathtaking contrast of light and dark.
In Connewarre tree (right), the bent forms of the tree curling back into the landscape evoke the force of the howling south-west winds that beat the coastline near Fennessy’s home in Breamlea.'
REVIEWED BY ANN CAREW Former Curator Geelong Art Gallery
Excerpt from critical text 'Incontro Confronto - Dialoghi Di Arte Contemporanea Australia-Italia', 1998.
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