Bill Henson is a widely acclaimed Australian contemporary photographer. Henson has exhibited extensively, both in his native Australia since his first solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in 1975 at the age of 19, and internationally.
Henson’s photographs explore themes of the Romantic movement such as the Sublime in contrast with intimacy found in the everyday moment. His use of chiaroscuro and a reduced palette coupled with a tendency to underexpose creates images that recall Flemish still-lifes and the works of Caravaggio. Henson, who describes his subject matter through shadow as much as through light, manages to evoke a sense of uncertainty and beauty, not only in his figure studies but also his photographs of seemingly banal landscapes such as those in his Suburban Series.
Bill Henson represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and has been involved in a number of major exhibitions including Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center of Photography in New York (2003). A comprehensive survey of the artist’s work at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, in 2005 attracted record visitor numbers for a contemporary art exhibition in Australia.
Henson’s work can be found internationally in public collections at the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Victoria and Albert museum in London.