With those words I begin the journal I engaged myself to keep for you-no words could be more suitable! Very well then. The place: on board the ship at last. The year: you know it. The date? Surely what matters is that it is the first day of my passage to the other side of the world; in token whereof I have this moment inscribed the number “one” at the top of this page. For what I am about to write must be a record of our first day. The month or day of the week can signify little since in our long passage from the south of Old England to the Antipodes we shall pass through the geometry of all four seasons.”
- William Golding, opening to Rites of Passage, 1980
Martin Bennett was born in Winchester, England in 1970 and immigrated to Canada in 1975. He is known here for his Static Image paintings that examine the regions of abstraction, photography, figuration and the mechanical reproduction while being none of these at once. These works, based on his own photographs and then painted in oil in patterns and grids of colour, employ a system that constructs the image while simultaneously obscuring its reading behind a veil of optical effects. In the final process Bennett meticulously sands down the oil paint to such a degree that the weave of the canvas begins to show through, creating a third vivid field of visual reference. In this way much of the inherent tactility and lusciousness of oil paint is suspended in favour of a slow, simmering and elusive method of presenting the image. To arrive at this method of working Bennett looked to the multivalent cues and visual strategies found in the works of Boetti, Magritte, Canaletto and others. For this exhibition Bennett further refined this system to include ‘folding volumes’ where geometric, diagonal planes of colour are nested within scenes from Rome, London and Canada.
Related press: N/A Press Release