Earthly Con­nec­tions

American Art Collector - - Contents - RJD Gallery 2385 Main Street • Bridge­hamp­ton, NY 11932 (631) 725-1161 •

In her lat­est se­ries of paint­ings, Bri­tish artist Bryony Bensly fo­cuses on our cur­rent en­vi­ron­men­tal con­structs—in par­tic­u­lar, how an­i­mals are treated and how peo­ple re­late to them. Her pieces com­bine the fig­ure with en­dan­gered species, invit­ing the viewer to rec­og­nize these crea­tures as well as show the bond be­tween them. Oc­to­ber 6 through Novem­ber 4, RJD Gallery in Bridge­hamp­ton, New York, will present the ex­hi­bi­tion Sea­sons of Change with Bensly’s new­est works.

“I am a clas­si­cally trained artist, and I fo­cus pri­mar­ily on the fig­ure so we can bring our­selves into the im­ages,” says Bensly. “A lot of times I’ll fo­cus on chil­dren to get in touch with those as­pects of our­selves; to re­late to our­selves to what is in­no­cent and re­flec­tive…The fig­u­ra­tive as­pect is im­por­tant so there is a plat­form to con­nect and com­mu­ni­cate.”

Bensly does re­search about the crea­tures that are de­picted in her art­work as well as en­vi­ron­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions. Each work also por­trays

one fig­ure, sym­bol­iz­ing how just one per­son can in­cite change. Take for in­stance Haven, which shows a woman at cen­ter, hold­ing up a white cir­cle and the en­dan­gered birds flock­ing around her.

“All the dif­fer­ent birds in that paint­ing are en­dan­gered. I’ve read about every sin­gle one of them,” she elab­o­rates. “When I grew up, there was this folk­lore that if you’re feel­ing scared you draw a white, pro­tec­tive cir­cle around your­self. For me, I thought, how can I pro­tect these birds? It’s this feel­ing that I wanted to show with the cir­cle up in the sky and to cre­ate a space that they can be safe. It’s one per­son try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence.”

In a cel­e­bra­tion of the life on the planet and na­ture, Bensly painted When She Wears Flow­ers in Her Hair. In the work are en­dan­gered but­ter­flies and in­sects, as well as flow­ers in the model’s hair. “[The model and an­i­mals] be­come much more con­nected,” says the artist. “They get into a happy place.”

She adds, “This planet is amaz­ing. We’re stew­ards of this planet. We’re con­nected and can’t live with­out it. We share the planet [with an­i­mals]; it’s an in­trin­sic part of what makes it won­der­ful and mag­i­cal. It’s about re-cre­at­ing that con­nec­tion or strength­en­ing that con­nec­tion. It’s a call to ac­tion.”




4When She Wears Flow­ers in Her Hair, oil on can­vas, 30 x 30"

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