K.OSS Contemporary Art is pleased to present “Frescos from the Island”, a solo exhibition featuring a selection of paintings by Vashon Island artist and sculptor Mark Bennion.
Bennion’ style has evolved from large-scale installation work to sculptures and collages to paintings.
His work in the last ten years reflects many minimal influences. His concentration on the simple geometric abstraction has been constant, though there are variations of size and shape.
He continues to explore a theme that has long interested him: the thread between ancient and contemporary culture.
According to the artist, “My work has always been about the uncovering of an ancient innocence. It is about a simple geometry that interacts with the changing world that is around us and is within us.”
Over the past 30 years, Mark Bennion has developed a unique painting process, which he links to “Fresco”, using oil, plaster on a panel or canvas. Fresco technique, a form of mural painting executed upon freshly laid, or wet lime plaster, dates back to prehistoric mans very first paintings on cave walls and has been employed since antiquity and is closely associated with Italian Renaissance painting.
Bennion sees his frescos as a “confluence of eastern and western techniques and traditions.” Like the Frescos of Pompeii, Bennionʼs paintings themselves convey a sense of history and tradition – the cracked plaster surface, layered with various pigments and ink are reminiscent of the richly colored walls that adorned homes, temples, and churches throughout the Mediterranean.
Mark Bennionʼs paintings express two different ways of looking at the natural world, both highly abstract. One is an impression of simple shapes floating in negative space create by layers of transparency. The others are sensitive gestures taken from details in nature against layers of color, one on top of the other. Mist, rain, clouds, twigs, branches, small leaves become the visual fodder for abstract images, suggesting meditations and thoughts about time and memory. These sensitive works allow a viewer to ruminate and meditate, to spend time lost in a very special world.
A practicing Buddhist for much of his adult life, Bennion is not as concerned with the specific story each painting or sculpture tells, as the moment of inner peace and meditation he hopes they inspire within the viewer.
He has exhibited both painting and sculptural works across the United States, Canada and Europe since 1968.
K.OSS CONTEMPORARY ART
K.OSS Contemporary Art has been made possible in part by the Artist Fund of the New York Foundation for the Arts