Kate Beynon’s familial ancestry is the bedrock of her artistic engagement and the resulting artworks are a nexus of influences. Informed by a diverse range of pictorial traditions including Eastern and Western comic books, animation, film, graffiti, calligraphy and fashion, Beynon’s paintings manifest the hybrid reality of today’s multicultural global citizen. In 1996, Beynon first exhibited images depicting Li Ji – a heroine from an ancient Chinese legend – adapted into a contemporary urban warrior. Portraiture has remained central to Beynon’s practice, allowing the artist to negotiate notions of history, race and class through the projection of the self or other.
Select solo exhibitions: Collection leads: Kate Beynon—kindred spirits, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, Victoria, 2020; Anatomical, Botanical, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2018; Kate Beynon: Room of Lucky Charms, Jackson Bella Room Commission, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2017; Kate Beynon: Friendly Beasts, Children’s Art Centre, QAGOMA, Brisbane, 2017; An-Li: A Chinese Ghost Tale, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, 2015; Auspicious Charms for Transcultural Living, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2008; Mixed Blood and Migratory Paths, The Physics Room, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2005; and Kate Beynon 1994-2002, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide, 2002.
Select group exhibitions: Portrait23: Identity, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 2023; Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW and touring 2022; Who Are You: Australian Portraiture, NGV, Victoria, 2022; Connecting the World Through Sculpture: In the Air, MUMA, Monash University, Melbourne, 2021; Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2020; Infinite Conversations, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2018; The F Word, Contemporary Feminist Art in Australia, Ararat Regional Art Gallery, Ararat, Victoria, 2014; Mythopoetic: women artists from Australia and India, Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2014; The Naked Face: Self-portraits, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2011.
Beynon retrieves signs and symbols from history, thereby rejoicing in ambiguous cultural origins. She avoids rigid ethnic boundaries and stereotypes in favour of a celebratory melange of identities and physical attributes. Amidst her distinctive identity politics, she blends personal and ancestral influences in a semi-autobiographical way.Natalie King, 2008