Michael Bennett - Presence
8th September – 13th October
A show of recent paintings made with the Black Swan venue in mind.
Michael Bennett paints ensembles of pictures for exhibition as large rectangular arrays, though he does sell them in smaller groups and, occasionally, singly.
In the Black Swan this year he will be showing some of these ensembles.
He is well known for his adoption of the tree as his "reason to make paintings". They are not real trees and do not derive from any particular trees. Their origins lie more in the painter's imagination which is deeply informed by the art of landscape painting in the Western tradition; memories of Corot and Constable and perhaps the atmosphere and light of Turner. His first reputation was made among the English abstract painters of the 70's and 80's and the present work reflects this background in its restriction of motif and the determination to show highly ordered sets of pictures. Otherwise the move to the tree as motif has liberated a romantic spirit in him which is best appreciated first from the initial impression - the sheer glory of the ensemble - and secondly from individual inspection of the single pictures. A world of subtle difference opens up to careful looking, and in the time it takes to look at them like this the viewer is reminded of a way of registering differences in colour, surface and intention, which lies at the heart of the contemporary language of painting.
During the Michael Bennett show a TV style interview with the painter will be playing in the gallery. It was made by the curator of the show Clive Walley with much help from Lucie Donahue. Another projection will be shown upstairs on the top floor of the gallery which is also made by Clive; it is the video installation based on these paintings that he made for this year’s Frome Festival, called “Transience”.