As one of Australia’s most respected and successful artists, Annette Bezor’s work has always been of immense conceptual and technical strength. Whilst fundamentally, Annette’s practice has focussed on an exploration of the ‘female condition’, her work has specifically addressed female sexuality, the politics of gender, the use of symbols and the symbolic power of the image. Annette’s oeuvre has also been as much about the artworks themselves, as a commentary on the condition of contemporary painting.
A notable series has been Annette’s “Silent Violence” series, and a recently completed work, “The silent violence” (2007-15) (illustrated above), serves in this case as an example.
In this work, Bezor exaggerates the superficial prettiness of the Geisha by stylising the figures and interspersing them with flowers and goldfish. The women appear in close contact but their intimacy is circumscribed by the manners of their culture. Their gaze is inward and they are disconnected - emblematic and untouchable. Ultimately, they must be silent, though their mask-like expressions betray suppressed emotion.
The concept of beauty evident in The Silent Violence has parallels in all societies. Bezor says her work is, "representative of a psychological and emotional space that people inhabit but are silent about. We all have this - a passive exterior, inside which is a Pandora's box."
She believes that, in being taught to behave according to the rules of our society, we submerge our deepest feelings beneath a civilised facade, even to the extent that we are unable to recognise our own turbulent inner states and the damage we do to ourselves and others. (Chris Reid, July 2011)
Graduating from the South Australia School of Art, Adelaide in 1977, artist Annette Bezor has established herself firmly as one of Australia’s foremost female contemporary artists. With over 30 solo exhibitions spanning three decades, Annette has exhibited nationwide as well as internationally in Europe, Hong Kong and the USA. Her work has been presented at a number of international art fairs, including Korea International Art Fair (KIAF, 2011), ARCO (2004, 1996) and Art Taipei (2004). Annette has also been a finalist in a number of prestigious national art prizes including the Sir John Sulman Prize (1992, 2002, 2008, 2009), the Archibald Prize (2005), the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2010) and the Portia Geach Memorial Award (1993, 1999). In 2013 Annette’s practice was the subject of a survey show, “Annette Bezor: Iconic Works 1997-2013”, which toured regional art galleries within New South Wales.