Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Looking over the overlooked-Urban decay in Pyrmont

"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." — Jonathan Swift

The next Pyrmont Festival of Food Wine and Art will be held 11am - 5pm on Sunday 20th May at Pirrama Park, the old Water Police site.

I will exhibit a selection of my Pyrmont canvases painted from the early 1980s - 2012. Pyrmont has changed beyond recognition from the early 1980s, from an almost deserted industrial ghost town to a media, retail and entertainment hub.

I painted 'en plein air' and was 'Artist in Residence' at many locations including Pyrmont Power Station, the CSR Refinery and Distillery, Pyrmont Goods Yard, the Waterpolice site, Jones Bay Wharf, Union Square and the top of the half completed Anzac Bridge. Most of my paintings were created on sites that were off-limits to the public.

However, sometimes I set up my easel by the side of the road - or even right in the middle of the road. There were few passers-by and almost no traffic. I have returned to paint scenes that I last painted a couple of decades ago to compare and contrast the past with the present.

On Harris Street a handful of derelict buildings still rub shoulders with the clean sharp angles and acidic colours of Jacksons Landing.

The "Terminus Hotel" on the western corner of Harris and John Street has become a pin-up for lovers of urban decay.

Its burnt sienna brickwork and emerald green doors mock the tastefully muted hues and expensive renovations of the up market "Point Hotel" on the other side of the road. This vine encrusted ex-pub proudly flaunts an air of seedy glamour, and stories about its scurrilous past and its mysterious closure have become part of the local mythology. It is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket and doesn't care who knows it.

oil painting of abandoned heritage building in Pyrmont 'Old bakery corner of John and Harris St' 2012 oil on board 35x28cm by Jane Bennett, Artist
'Old bakery corner of John and Harris St' 2012
oil on board 35 x 28cm.

$770


Enquiries 

janecooperbennett@gmail.com
  

However the opposite corner of Harris and John Street has an equally haunting ruin which has been gently mouldering away for at least as long as its more spectacular neighbour.
This building on the corner of Harris and John Street was once a bakery, and then a typical Greek milk bar. The proprietors used to make their own icecream in the  traditional way - twirling it around on a stick.
They had one of those old-fashioned football machines operated by a handle, with rows of wooden "players"  kicking a ball. It would have pre-dated the pinball machines by at least a decade.
I have painted in Pyrmont and Ultimo for over 30 years now, but I don't actually remember when this ceased to be a thriving business.
If it ever really thrived.
oil painting of Anzac Bridge at night "Pyrmont streetscape : Anzac Bridge from the corner of John, Pyrmont and Point streets" 1994 oil painting on canvas paper 100 x 75cm by  Jane Bennett,Artist
"Pyrmont streetscape : Anzac Bridge from the corner of John, Pyrmont and Point streets" 1994
oil painting on canvas paper 100 x 75cm
$7.700

oil painting of Anzac Bridge from Pyrmont "Pyrmont streetscape : Anzac Bridge from the corner of John, Pyrmont and Point streets" 1994 oil painting on board 91x 31cm by  Jane Bennett,Artist
ANZAC Bridge from John st 1994 oil 91x31cm
PRIVATE COLLECTION SYDNEY
SOLD
Next door to the ex-bakery is "Chicks on Harris" ("chicks" in this context refers to fast food- I'm not sure that the owners thought through the implications of their name as a number of establishments in this area in the past have had chequered reputations).
oil painting of a black dog and abandoned building in Pyrmont 'Black Dog (old bakery from John St)' 2012 oil on board 31x25cm by Jane Bennett, Artist
'Black Dog (old bakery from John St)' 2012
oil on board 31 x 25cm
$660

The old bakery had already been boarded up for some time, as there were archaeologically interesting layers of tatty posters layered on top of the boards which sealed the doors - a tradition that has continued to this day.

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