Martin Bennett: When I Can No Longer Give Air To Fire. Exhibition runs through 16 July, 2016
This solo exhibition by Saskatoon-based Martin Bennett will present continuations of three main strands of the artist’s practice: the Static Image Paintings (an expansion of image-based paintings started in 1999), the Grey Volume Paintings (a continuation of monochromatically flooded canvases started in 1995), and the Variant Flash Paintings (a continuation of gestural works initiated in 1996). Aesthetically, two unifying elements bind the works - firstly their black and white palette, and secondly the unusual finishing process of electrically sanding the surface of the painting to give the works a distinct, stripped back texture.
The exhibition’s title 'When I Can No Longer Give Air To Fire', is also a continuation, carried across from Bennett’s previous solo exhibition at Birch Contemporary. The exhibition title and the works make connections with varied, culturally loaded references including William Golding’s Pincher Martin, Prometheus, Percy Bysshe Shelley, the Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Rome, Stonehenge, A dead rabbit, burial mounds, bird song, the pond at Villa Borghese and more.
For the Static Image Paintings Bennett draws upon imagery from photographs he has taken in the past decade, which emerge from time spent on long walks. Bennett reflects on the experiences connected to the photographs and endeavors to produce paintings that do not diminish those experiences. Speaking of the connections between the works, Bennett says:
“As the paintings are being made they tend to reveal things in relation to one another that I wasn't anticipating; and certainly not planning at the early stages - I try to extend these moments. Because I spend a lot of my time in a dark studio painting the images I tend to keep myself occupied by thinking about all the different ways the images and paintings might connect.”