Liam Benson

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Born in Sydney, Australia.
Lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

Liam Benson is a performance artist who documents his work through embroidery, photography, video and new media. Benson’s work deconstructs the social perceptions of gender, race, culture, sexuality and identity by cross-referencing art, popular culture and media language.His work serves to celebrate the evolution of these social archetypes and explore the possibilities within the cross influence of socially entrenched identities and cultural and sub-cultural amalgamation.

Liam Benson has been prolifically exhibiting and performing since 2002. He has performed in various significant exhibitions including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2014), Sydney Contemporary Art Fair (2015; 2013), Cutlog New York Art Fair (2013), and as part of the Head On Photo Festival (2012; 2011). Benson also regularly works in collaboration with Naomi Oliver as the performance based duo, The Motel Sisters.

Liam Benson has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Arts Category of the Champions of the West Initiative (2014), Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Award (2013), the Hawkesbury Art Prize (2013), the Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award (2011), and the Contemporary Award category of the Fishers Ghost Art Award (2011). Benson’s works are held in significant public and private collections including those of Artbank, the University of Western Sydney and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

In 2016 Benson was a finalist in the Glenfiddich Artist in Residency Award and the Blake Prize. He is currently an Artist in Residence at Parramatta Artists Studios.

“As a queer performance artist who uses photography and video as vehicles for his practice, Liam Benson has been the subject and object of these still and moving images, (re)constructing hybrid identities out of clever juxtapositions of the cultural signifiers of mainstream and marginalised aspects of Western patriarchal culture (cue Benson with Ned Kelly beard wearing a hand embroidered, Klu Klux Clan-style headdress, perhaps a repurposed Mardi Gras costume).

His self-portraits are compelling viewing. While his highly stylised aesthetic is visually striking, it is this very simplicity and clarity that enables a certain complexity to his work. This, in fact, is key to his process. Drawing on the visual language of popular culture, Benson is nevertheless always careful not to rely too heavily on its tricks, resulting in work that, while visually potent, avoids falling into decoration.

But what a formal description of Benson’s work fails to capture is its irreducibly human quality – the way it is animated by the same empathy, integrity and sincerity which distinguishes Benson as a person. It is this palpable sense of genuineness, realised without sentiment, that ultimately provides the work its believability.”

Carrie Miller
Art Collector, October-December 2015

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Liam Benson, The Terrorist, 2015, Inkjet print on cotton rag paper, edition of 5, 90 x 134 cm. (Photographed by Alex Wisser) Liam Benson, The Executioner, 2015, Inkjet print on cotton rag paper, edition of 5, 90 x 134 cm. (Photographed by Alex Wisser) Liam Benson, The Crusader, 2015, Inkjet print on cotton rag paper, edition of 5, 90 x 134 cm. (Photographed by Alex Wisser) Liam Benson, Ned Kelly Red Gum; hypercolour, 2014-2015, C Type print, edition of 5, 50 x 50 cm. (Photographed by Steven Cook) Liam Benson, Ned Kelly Ghost Gum; Numeralla, 2015, C Type print, edition of 5, 50 x 50 cm. (Photographed by Steven Cook) Liam Benson, Ned Kelly Red Gum; sepia, 2015, C Type print, edition of 5, 50 x 50 cm. (Photographed by Steven Cook) Liam Benson, Ned Kelly Ghost Gum: Numerella, 2015, C Type print, edition of 5, 50 x 50 cm. (Photographed by Steven Cook) Liam Benson, Ned Kelly Blue Gum; coral, 2015, C Type print, edition of 5, 50 x 50 cm. (Photographed by Steven Cook) Liam Benson, Same (pink), 2014, glass seed and bungle beads, sequins, cotton, organza, bamboo embroidery hoop, crystal diamantes, 8.5cm diameter Liam Benson, Me & You, 2015, glass seed and bugle beads, sequins, cotton, organza, bamboo embroidery hoop, crystal diamantes, 18.5cm diameter Liam Benson, Silly Gubba, 2015, glass seed and bugle beads, sequins, cotton, organza, bamboo embroidery hoop, crystal diamantes, 19cm diameter Liam Benson, Refuge, 2015, glass seed and bugle beads, sequins, cotton, organza, bamboo embroidery hoop, crystal diamantes, 22cm diameter Liam Benson, Brother Lover, 2015, glass seed and bugle beads, sequins, cotton, organza, bamboo embroidery hoop, crystal diamantes, 19cm diameter Liam Benson, New, 2014, glass seed and bugle beads, sequins, cotton, organza, bamboo embroidery hoop, crystal diamantes, 8.5cm diameter Liam Benson, The Opal Queen, 2012, Pigment in ink on cotton rag paper, Edition of 5, 146.5 x 146.5cm, (Photograph by Jasmine Robertson) Liam Benson, The Bowerbird Queen, 2012, Pigment in ink on cotton rag paper, Edition of 5, 146.5 x 146.5cm, (Photograph by Jasmine Robertson) Liam Benson, The Gold Knight, 2012, Pigment in ink on cotton rag paper, Edition of 5, 146.5 x 146.5cm, (Photograph by Jasmine Robertson) Liam Benson, The Stable Boy, 2012, Pigment in ink on cotton rag paper, Edition of 5, 80 x 80 cm, (Photograph by Jasmine Robertson) Liam Benson, Coat of arms, 2009, C Type print, 61 x 91cm, edition of 5. Liam Benson, Glitterface, 2010, C Type print, 61 x 91cm, edition of 5, (assisted by Naomi Oliver) Liam Benson, I'll never be black, 2011, 61 x 91cm, C Type print, assisted by Steven Cook. Liam Benson, Stealing Horses, 2011, 61 x 91cm, C Type print, assisted by Steven Cook. Liam Benson, A Christian Country, 2011, 61 x 91cm, C Type print, assisted by Steven Cook. Liam Benson, R.E.S.P.E.C.T, 2013, C-type print, 127 x 165cm, edition of 5