Pheon & Magpie

Mills Plains | Tasmania | Australia

Pheon and Magpie (After Glover) | Scott Bennett | 2014 | Acrylic, pastel, pencil & collage on paper | 97 x 83cm | Private collection

It is important to point out that this is a handmade copy after John Glover, a drawing; not a print! The top portion is a very detailed (Even by my standards) pastel and pencil drawing. The collage (striped section) is however, a digital image printed on rag paper.

I put a huge amount of my ‘substance’ into this drawing, it was an incredible labour of love to translate Glover’s oil while attempting to mirror his style.

It would be false to say it is a leaf by leaf copy but it is at least, a flower for flower copy! 😉

Artist Statement

Online software employs a repeating row of pixels to obscure pay-walled content. A particular image, striped in this way, had reminded me of John Glover’s famous view, which brought to mind, paradisal gardens. Paradise means walled enclosure and the term is intimately connected to the history of the garden, the pastoral and landscape art.

The wide black, white and yellow stripes reminded me of the parti-coloured convict uniform, or ‘magpie’. In mythology the magpie is associated with the piebald trickster, the patched fool, the creator god and the duality of the world.

The pheon or broad arrow brand, indicates government property, the symbol here, points to the position of the Sun in the original painting. It is still in use today to mark trees as the property of the Crown and as survey markers.

The circles are an aboriginal symbol meaning tribes. The Roman numerals equal 2560, the number of free acres granted to Glover at Mills Plains. The upper “Black Line”* demarcates the cleared land from the bush. The lower line indicates the limits of the original picture.

My artwork is Post-Pastoral** in intent. While it does hint at some still largely, uncharted colonial histories, it is made with compassion for Glover’s position. I have a deepened appreciation of the masterful skill and subtle beauty that so clearly convey the experience of the joy he found in his house and garden.


The intention of my artwork is to recontextualise the original image in a gentle way. This labor intensive and ritualised reworking is mean’t to draw attention to craft. It is an attempt to illuminate contradiction sensitively.

*The Black Line

**As opposed to Anti-Pastoral

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