Exemplifying urban, deadpan cool, Best’s multi-disciplinary practice encompasses sculpture, installation, photo-media and painting. Excavating contemporary culture – fashion, video games, film, nature documentaries and pop – as well as the urban landscape, he displaces ‘everyday elements into fantastical scenarios, or into ‘atoms’ of new stories…’. These vaguely sinister reconfigurations of the physical and cultural environment contain elements of the fantastic, occult, and the merely strange. The imposingly large and critically well-received Pauline (2004) selected for the survey exhibition 2004: Australian Culture Now at the National Gallery of Victoria – was a three dimensional realization of the 1980s video game Donkey Kong, from which the obscurantist Best had removed any identifying figures. Given that he cites as a point of reference Alain Robbe-Grillet – whose nouveaux romans challenged conventional narrative structures…it is not at all surprising that Best’s enigmatic narratives are invariably open-ended. Alluding to the flawed paradise of Adelaide – a city memorably described by Salman Rushdie as a perfect setting for a Stephen King novel or horror film – in Paradise (2003) he constructed a cryptic crime-scene-like tableau from an illuminated drink container, a pair of photocopy machines, pot plants, a macabre face mask, a scattering of capsules of nitrous oxide and latex weeds that sprouted from cracks in the floor.
Wendy Walker, Anne & Gordon Samstag Catalogue, 2006