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"I wonder if there will ever be Jason Benjamin country. It exists already in my mind, when I see a shaft of light fall a certain way, and the landscape around me seems to crack open, just for an instant, with feeling. Painters including Arthur Boyd, Arthur Streeton and Fred Williams changed the way we Australians saw the land around us. Benjamin is changing it again. He is making it the deepest part of ourselves." Catherine Keenan
It is only rarely that an artist of such high calibre is accompanied with nation-wide appeal, but young artist Jason Benjamin has been singled out as an artist whose work is both appealing and collectable.
The Australia Art Collector magazine shortlists Benjamin in their 'Top 50 Most Collectable Australian Artist' alongside the critically acclaimed names of Blackman, Olsen, Whiteley, Boyd and Nolan.
Jason Benjamin has been exhibiting since 1989 and won the 2005 Archibald Packing Room Prize with a painting of actor Bill Hunter titled 'Staring Down The Past'. He won the 1993, 1994 and 1996 Mosman Art Prizes in Sydney. In 1997 he was awarded the Kings School Art Prize for landscape painting. He was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2011 and 2013. Jason was also commissioned to paint sixteen works for the new cruise ship Queen Mary II.
Benjamin's evocative works are visually stunning, modern neoclassical pieces. Whether his choice of subject is a sweeping landscape, a floral composition or a beautiful nude, Benjamin's paintings have a mysterious, haunting edge to them. They possess a monumental cinematic quality that is unique, with accompanying titles that conjure up an alternative viewpoint. His work shows a sensitive understanding of form and light, possessing subtle tonalities within these strong compositions.
"You can stare at the grass in Jason Benjamin’s landscapes for a very long time. It’s so minutely rendered, the wide expanse of it built up one deeply-felt blade at a time, that it draws your eye in ever further. The process of painting it is painstaking and laborious. For Benjamin, it’s a kind of worship." Catherine Keenan
Born in Melobourne, he spent some of his teenage years living in New York where a visit to a Jackson Pollack exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened his eyes to the possibilities of painting as an artistic vocation. In 2007 Benjamin stated "Seeing Pollack at The Met was really the starting point for me – of both that desire and the humility. You know, the world does not need more paintings. But one good one can remind us of who we are."
On an artists' trip to the Central Desert in 2001 (along with John Olsen and Tim Storrier, among others) Benjamin first felt an affinity with and a love of the Australian landscape. He described this awakening: "Forcing myself to look at it (the landscape) as the indigenous people had been looking at it for 30,000 years gave me a new respect for the ground I was walking on"
This respect is transcribed by Benjamin through his realistic sensitivity and poetical interpretation of the landscape's geography, and his hauntingly descriptive, ephemeral titles which float in the air like an unfinished declaration of love…
"Often beneath Benjamin’s rain-laden thunderclouds lies the cruel irony of the land of drought. The eucalypts stand as talismans of deprivation, the granite boulders the headstones of a dying world. Benjamin captures the strange tricks of light that are seen nowhere else on the planet, the way that sunlight carves through the clouds creating an eerie sense of simultaneous movement and stillness." Ashley Crawford
Jason Benjamin and Berkeley Editions have created six Limited Edition Multi-plate Coloured Etchings and these will be on show at Bowral's Milk Factory Gallery from 1 – 31 March 2014.
For more information please contact Robyn Berkeley on 0418223661 or firstname.lastname@example.org