Brendan Van Hek


Born 1968 in Perth
Lives and works in Sydney

Brendan Van Hek is an interdisciplinary artist whose works span from small text-based neons to large-scale site-specific installations. A continued exploration of materials is prioritised in his practice as he mines the possibilities inherent in a broad range of mediums including found objects, neon, glass, mirror, timber and metal.

In addition to many significant public art projects, recent solo exhibitions of Van Hek’s work have been held at major institutions including Canberra Glassworks (2020); Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne (2019); Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney (2015); Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2015); and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2009).


Horizon (midnight blue, turquoise),  2014
107.0 x 155.0 cm
The University of Western Australia Art Collection

Working across a variety of media, Brendan Van Hek is best known for his sculptural works in neon. For Horizon (midnight blue, turquoise) (2014), Van Hek employs light – a characteristic that defines his hometown of Perth – to depict a sense of landscape through two fields of differently coloured neon.

Originally shown as part of Van Hek’s solo exhibition ‘Lost at Sea’, held at former Perth gallery Venn in 2014, Horizon (midnight blue, turquoise) is immediately suggestive of the ocean, looking towards the horizon at the separation of sea and sky. Less explicitly, Van Hek’s use of neon also evokes a sense of the nocturnal qualities of cities at night. In the context of this exhibition, Horizon (midnight blue, turquoise) subtly connects to the work of artists affiliated with the Light and Space movement, which originated in Southern California in the 1960s, with a shared interest in the ways in which geometric shapes and the use of light can affect the environment and the perception of the viewer.