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artist in focus: kerry louise bennett

How do you describe your work?

My paintings can be placed loosely within the still life tradition; however, I pay little heed to reality!

For me a canvas is rarely a place to record the real world, instead it is a playground where I am free to celebrate colour and texture, explore the interaction of shapes, to create chaos and find resolution and in doing so, illuminate the magic in our daily domestic narratives

What would you say are your greatest influences?

I am profoundly and viscerally affected by colour, so I really appreciate artists who juxtapose colours to create harmony, discord and everything in between! When I visit

major art galleries, the works I am most drawn to usually fall under post-impressionism or German expressionism. If you love colour and pattern and making magic out of domesticity, Matisse is the master! I am also inspired by artists such as Mary Fedden and William Scott. Different ends of the still life spectrum, but both artists really speak to me

Who do you have in mind when you create your work?

Unless I’m working on a commission I try not to have anyone in mind, and to just be as true to myself as I can be. The most pleasing results come when you allow instinct to

guide the process, but groups of thematically linked paintings naturally emerge depending on what is fuelling my curiosity. Recently I have been exploring and interpreting the idea of flowers and how they embody certain words that I would like to be associated with my work - joyful, exuberant, vibrant, natural. At other times I have been obsessed with exploring the moods generated by cast shadows, or the sense of history old chairs hold within their quirky shapes. I always look for character and narrative within the objects I paint, and the scenes that emerge express something of my relationship to the world around me which I hope will be transmitted to the viewer

What makes your art different, special and irresistible?

Interesting question! My immediate thought is that my art marries boldness with quietness. My second thought: a realisation that this mirrors how I would describe myself!

I identify as shy, introverted and live mostly in my head, nonetheless, I also have a directness and a boldness that pops out, and a distinctive sartorial style more suited to someone who wants to be noticed! In my paintings this is expressed by juxtaposing the intense, raw, almost punky elements of colour, line and texture, with gentleness, domesticity and a sense of order. So, perhaps it is the coalescence of these conflicting sensibilities that makes my creative voice unique and attracts people to my art.

What do people say when they see your collection / portfolio? How does your art make them feel?

I get overwhelmingly positive feedback on my use of colour and the harmony of my compositions. The word I hear most is ‘joy’ closely followed by either ‘calm’ or ‘magical’. Since joy, calm and magic are also the feelings I want more of in my own life, this response is always extremely gratifying!

What do you think motivates people to buy your art? How does it appeal to the heart?

I believe that the people who buy my art share my passion for colour and are looking for artworks that lift their spirits and infuse their home with a sense of joy - but that also offer a moment of calm and a visual space where they can allow the eye to wander a-while as their imagination transports them into a gentle narrative all of their own. I love the idea that my paintings sow seeds for a whole world of stories that are unique to every viewer.


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