Ben Benedict’s first experience with art came when he was sixteen, asking for and receiving his first original piece of art. His first exploration of design and fine art was during his time as a Canadian Special Forces Medical Assistant at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa where he designed a poster display and subsequently a mural for the 2nd Field Ambulance canteen.
Ben Benedict has continuously worked in mixed media collage, painting, and sculpture since graduating from Western University in 1993, where he had the good fortune to study Drawing with Kim Moodie; Photography with David Merrit; Painting with Sheila Butler and Duncan DeKergemeaux; Sculpture with Cyril Reede and Colette Urban; Printmaking with Helmut Becker; and Critical Theory with Jose Barrio-Garay. While studying at Western University during the summer of 1990, Ben Benedict also had the pleasure to stay and study with Toronto colourist Lois Steen (http://lois-steen.tumblr.com/) whose use of vibrant colour and juxtaposition remains an influence. His creativity includes a focus in figurative works on gender roles, and issues of masculinity, memory, and object relations theories including the use of deconstructed materials and narratives.
While highly influenced by Regionalism and the works of area artists Greg Curnoe, Bernice Vincent, Tom Benner, and Patterson Ewen – Impressionism and Minimalism (Guido Molinari) have also been influential. Constructivism plays a large part in my technical practice (including a full woodworking studio) in the use of new or found materials ‘contructed’ or ‘assembled’ to form either the base upon which to paint (stretchers and panels, both wood, paper, and mixed media) or the actual final art work. Palette paintings, created spontaneously and forged from memory and intuition from the paint left over from larger works, form another integral component of his artistic practice.
Theoretical influences include psychoanalytical theories like Object Relations (the materials and events in our lives that influence throughout), Cognition, and Memory as well as Gestalt Theories and Structural Linguistics. As a writer and critic, Ben Benedict spent many years writing exhibit and book reviews and criticism. His understanding and experiences have also lead to organizational development consulting and public speaking enagagements with a number of cultural groups throughout Southwestern Ontario.
Process and method play a large role in in Ben Benedict’s art production including the use of a narrative or story telling approach to his mixed media artwork. Style and subject often dictate the media used but often the media can influence the final image as well.
In 2007, as part of a canoe trip down the Thames River with the Philip Aziz Foundation of Art, recreating a trip that London artists Paul Peel and William Lees Judson completed in 1877 and recorded in the book, Kȕhleborn, A Tour of the Thames published in 1881, Ben Benedict began an exploration of blending hard edge abstraction and landscape that paid homage to artists who have and are working within the region while inserting himself into that history. With that, he began exploring non-figurative works including landscape and minimalism/hard edge works while finding a way to include components of materialism/found objects that acknowledge this history of art-making and regionalism.
As a curator his creative output has focused on community development in building London’s annual Pride Art Exhibit as part of Pride London Festival into a sustainable provincially recognized juried exhibition from 2002 through to 2012 including an international component in 2011. In 2013 he curated Inventive Women: Re-Interpreting the Canadian Landscape at the Woodstock Art Gallery featuring five regional artist and works from the Florence Carlyle collection.
Ben Benedict’s art continues to be successfully exhibited throughout Southwestern Ontario. His work can be found in the collection of the City of London as well as numerous private collections. Ben Benedict is available for commissions.