Gary Benfield was born December 6th, 1965 in Birmingham, England. He studied art at Stourbridge College of Art (1982 – 1984) and at Wrexham College of Art (1984 – 1986). In 1986, Benfield became a professional freelance illustrator. After leaving the academic world he set up his own studio near London and concentrated on drawing and painting figures. Within a few years, his work was being collected throughout Europe and his reputation had become firmly established.
Benfield has a natural talent for depicting things as seen. His work is spontaneous and reflected by his drawn lines and dashes of color. The figures dissolve in and out of their backgrounds and move across the canvas. He paints rapidly and discards most of his paintings and drawings, keeping only those he feels are perfected in their conception rather than overwork those that are not correct.
His paintings represent a discrete world of objects which combine figures, mythology, nature, and still life. Despite the casual appearance of his compositions, all imagery is highly organized, and after long observations one finds the hidden symmetry and beauty beneath the layers of finery. The background of his paintings is soft, reminiscent of Leonardo de Vinci’s sketches and sepia tones, most of it defined only with pencil and a slight highlight of color.
For Benfield, the world around him is a continuous sequence of fortuitous events. Objects and figures intertwine in his mind, they dance, they fuse and one adopts the color and life of another. We are drawn into an intimate world of his imagery, where sensuality and delight in life’s form are combined in a flight of frolic and fantasy. Benfield is considered to be one of the most renowned contemporary artists in the art world today. His work is collected by art collectors worldwide.
"I cannot remember a time without drawing. It was natural for me as a
child to use both my hands when painting and drawing and this ambidexterity
has remained with me in my adult life as an artist. I love the beauty of the
line and I use these skills to create and transform inert materials into
images of beauty and romance. There are aspects of our lives, our existence
and experience which remain as a constant, not subject to historical
variation. We fall in love, have children and experience a whole gamut of
emotions as humans always have. We have always sought to express these
fundamental experiences in an aesthetic manner, through painting and poetry.
As an artist it is this imaginative role in transforming materials - paint,
graphite, charcoal - to create this aesthetic dimension which I love."
-- Gary Benfield
2008 - New York
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