2009 Tattersall’s Landscape Art Prize, finalist.


Mount Tibrogargan | Glass House Mountains National Park | Queensland | Australia

Fire off the shoulder of Tibrogargan | Scott Bennett | 2009 | Oil and wax on canvas | 100 cm x 100 cm | Collection of the artist

The painting’s title comes from lines spoken by actor Rutger Hauer in the movie Blade Runner, which had been on my mind:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion
I watched C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain
Time to die”

Roy Batty’s last words are evocative, and the line “Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion” is powerfully declarative. However, the name Orion alludes to classical mythology. I wanted my title to have the same power but to speak both to the local legend and my own experience, hence – “Fire off the shoulder of Tibrogargan”.

The image is at once a mountain, itself an ancient fire, a person, a tragic mythical hero, an ancestor made visible through the rainbow coloured light of the smoke filtered sun.


I am a big Monet fan and the Glass House Mountains make me think of his series paintings, particularly the Haystacks and Rouen Cathedral.

(Image right: Claude Monet |Grainstack / Haystack Sunset |1893)

Rouen Cathedral

Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, the Rouen Cathedral paintings had reminded me of Tibrogargan, the Cathedral’s facade is suggestive of the human skull. The rose window looks like an eye socket to me. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this was Monet’s intention.

(Image left: Claude Monet | Rouen Cathedral Facade |1894)

Driving back to Brisbane from Caloundra one afternoon I noticed that the mountains were shrouded in smoke from nearby fires. I was excited because I had pondered the difficulty of getting a foggy atmosphere like some of the cathedral paintings, and this seemed the perfect opportunity.

I had a real moment with fate and the mountain. I found a vantage point directly in front and to the east of Tibrogargan. The sun was setting off the northern shoulder to the west and the light was filtered by the heavy smoke haze. The scene was spectacular, the back lit smoke obscured much of the detail in the rock.

Mount Tibrogargan

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