Bar Tino in Pyrmont, one of the businesses in Union Street under threat from the CBD Metro, is playing host to a quietly ironic art exhibition by award-winning artist Jane Bennett. Why ironic? In short, because Ms Bennett describes her paintings as, “a narrative of the abandonment, decay, destruction and reconstruction of an inner-city landscape – a testament to the passing of an era”.
If this approach seems to have the faint whiff of defeatism about it, it is only coincidental, as Ms Bennett makes clear. “The NSW Government’s plan for a proposed CBD Metro entrance in Union Square threatens to obliterate one of the last remaining vestiges of Pyrmont’s original character,” she said. “The result will either be the outright demolition of four 19th-century heritage terraces, or the alternative of ‘facadism’, which will turn a true inner-city village into an empty shell. ‘Facadism’ is architectural taxidermy – it kills the spirit and leaves a gutted corpse.”
Having painted in Pyrmont for over 20 years, Ms Bennett has, as she puts it, “an uncanny instinct for selecting subjects that are about to vanish,” and has experienced much frustration at not being able to keep up with the rate of significant demolitions. But despite the downbeat character of her subject matter, Ms Bennett herself has received much praise for her work, having held 27 solo exhibitions and won over 120 art prizes.
The paintings are on open exhibition at Bar Tino until late October.