Since the 1980s, Annette Bezor has been one of Australia’s foremost painters. In her current work, she takes images of women from classical painting, contemporary decorative art and popular culture and recreates them as stylised icons to reveal and subvert the power and impact of the originals. In challenging viewers to meet the newly focussed gaze of these women, Bezor exposes the nature of society’s attitudes to women and how they are represented in art and popular culture. She then situates these iconic figures in a surrealistic space to emphasise the roles, identities and emotional states of women generally. Her work is predicated on the assumption that personal identity and roles are, at least in part, culturally determined – we are products of our society. But she also believes that identity, thoughts, feelings, desires and sexuality run deeper than social programming. People are products of both socio-cultural and biological processes.

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