This is day01.
of something
compelling and


Vulnerable, fragile,

The nude may arguably be the most depicted subject in art, certainly a major theme throughout art history since prehistoric times. Undoubtedly, there exists a complex relationship and view communicated with nudity, and often it’s this very subject that causes scandals in art.

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Vulnerable, fragile, fleeting, sensitively offers two significant works, one by Australia’s preeminent photographer, Bill Henson, that has seen its share of embroilment. Untitled #30, was subjected to a media frenzy in 2008. Yet, for the past 15 years it has been cared for amongst a very compassionate private collection by one of Sydney’s leading Obstetric specialists. Where an Obstetrician’s primary care involves critical and delicate moments of human bodily transformations and physiological adaptation, from pre-conception, fetus development to neonate and adolescence. That similar notion of significant fleeting moments is held precious by Bill Henson, who visually captures the magical transitory world of adolescents amid fragmented and intense emotions, often set in nocturnal worlds that hint at seductive threat.

Henson’s photographs are certainly not immune to challenging limits of the presentable, blurring the boundaries in beguiling if unsettling ways. Exactly what some art is meant to do. With Untitled #30 there is no postmodern invitational gaze from the young girl demanding you to look at her, instead an offering to recognise the fragile emotional truth of teenage tenderness, loneliness and uncertainty from both a contemporary and premodern viewpoint. Her fingers and hand placement alone emphasise Henson’s classical painterliness style appearing as a homage to the delicately placed hand of Titian’s Venus of Urbino from 1538.

This same topic of adolescence and girlhood is not purely exclusive to Bill Henson. There also exist aspects equally and sensitively explored through an adult lens in the work of Jenny Watson, our second artist featured in Vulnerable, fragile, fleeting.  

Watson, one of the nation’s adored artists makes brave work embedded in feminism, punk and rebellion. Works such as Body Sensations 3, don’t reveal the private world of the artist, rather are part of a carefully constructed and charming narrative that intertwines autobiographical and fictional elements with a combination of childish innocence. It is a work that potentially speaks to traditional female roles and the hard work involved. A signature work presenting Watson’s cast oscillating between a self-portait and an alter ego.

It’s wonderful to offer works by two of Australia’s most distinguished artists from the same private collection that discern innocent moments preserved.

Bill Henson
Jenny Watson.

On view from 2 February - 11 March, 2023.

Bill Henson, Untitled #30, 2007-2008 
Type C photograph, edition 4/5, 180 x 127cm

Jenny Watson, Body Sensation 3, 1991 
Series:  Japan Watercolours, Watercolour on paper, 28 x 21 cm

Jenny Watson, Body Sensation 3, 1991
Series:  Japan Watercolours, Watercolour on paper, 28 x 21 cm