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Richard Benbow

Artist

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'I am a Visual Artist based in the beautiful Douglas Valley in the North West of England. I embarked on an MA in Contemporary Art after completing a BA Hons Fine Art at the University of Salford 2017 – 2020, in which I graduated with First-Class Honours. I won the Howarth Life Drawing Prize in 2018 and travelled to Berlin with the bursary award. My current practice focuses predominantly on painting. I explore the local landscape and react to my environs; researching through photography, video, satellite maps, note taking, poetry, sense connections to my surroundings, and psychological aspects such as dreams. I then translate this information to produce various degrees of abstracted interpretations of the landscape.'

The protection of our environment is paramount in this age of climate change, species extinction, and plastic pollution. I have experienced my local landscape much more during lockdown: rolling hills, valley floors, ancient woodlands, the tide and flow of waterways. These vistas invigorate and inspire me. However, I am also scared, and ill-at-ease with the impact humans have on the planet and what lies before us in this near future. 

 

Line, colour, tone, gestural brushstrokes are my weapons to mobilise my message. Large brushes produce sweeping brush marks, the trajectory of which move across, support, and echo my traverse through topographical terrains, a symbiotic connection to the earth and soil. 

Gathurst (Acrylic on Cradled Wood Panel).jpg

'Gathurst'  Acrylic on cradled wood panel

Gathurst 2 (Acrylic on Cradled Wood Panel).jpg

'Gathurst 2'  Acrylic on cradled wood panel

My work is historically inspired by artists including Victor Pasmore, Ivon Hitchen, Albert Irvin, Peter Lanyon, and Adrian Berg. As well as being inspired by contemporary artists such as Shara Hughes’ forms and colour layers and Julie Mehretu’s mark making, layering, and political and social influences in her work. By studying these artists techniques and manner of observing and painting the landscape, I contextualise my work through the observations of their compositions, use of colour, and brushmarks. The post-impressionists and Vincent Van Gogh have always been one of my founding inspirations, as have the colourist-inspired Yorkshire landscapes of David Hockney. 

 

In common with Hockney and Van Gogh in their stays in Normandy and Arles respectively, during lockdown, I have walked and explored my local vicinity, like they before me, and have been inspired by what is on my doorstep. Wandering alone, and taking in what I see before me helps me connect with nature. This then brings me to Aboriginal Art which also inspires me, not just the visual impact 

but also the spiritual connection of the people to the land and aspects of their culture such as the ‘walkabout’ and ‘dreamtime.’ I have found that spending so much time in nature has been a rite of passage, like the young Aboriginals sent out into the outback and left to survive, like them I have harmonised with nature, and the spirits of the trees, plants, and animals have entered my own dream world and in turn have cleansed my own psyche and spirit. 

 

In the past, I have referenced cartographic influences from paper maps to GPS. Using maps as a resource material enables me to create a framework for a composition. I use places where I have recently walked or visited in which my memories and experiences are fresh. 

Contour Ridge (Acrylic on Cradled Wood Panel).jpg

'Contour Ridge'  Acrylic on cradled wood panel

Streaming Down Landscape (Acrylic on Cradled Wood Panel).jpg

'Streaming Down Landscape'  Acrylic on cradled wood panel