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Gary Benfield

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There’s something for every contemporary artistic taste in Gary Benfield’s signature compositional work, bar humourous bovines and full-on nudity. Although having said that there are many straight-faced cows and semi (tastefully) naked female forms from which to choose. Be it mythology, nature, still life and/or figurative, the acclaimed and best-selling contemporary figurative and wildlife fine artist (first and foremost), Benfield has regularly dipped in and out of many genres since announcing his intentions to turn professional many moons ago. In fact, it’s fair to imply that Benfield’s paintings by and large represent a world of objects which routinely combine all the above and more. And that despite the seemingly casual and care-free appearance of his visual masterpieces, Benfield’s attention to all illustrative detailing and composition is on the contrary, hugely organised. Indeed, engage with a hallmark Benfield piece long enough and you’ll discover hidden symmetry and painstakingly re-imagined and layered beauty interwoven into many individual facts of pictorial finery.

The habitual backdrop to your typical Benfield piece is notably soft and barely there to some degrees, reminiscent some would say of da Vinci sketches and sepia tones, whilst the majority of the graphic application and general meeting of material to painted surface tends to be pencil, with flashes of implied colouration and considered saturation and hue. Delivered and committed to that canvas in a blur of speed (He’s acknowledged as being a spontaneous and frenzied artist according to sources close to him), Benfield is routinely described by fans, critics and collectors of his historic work alike as possessing this sublime natural gift for depicting things literally ‘as seen’. The spontaneity echoes the applied simplicity of his drawn lines and dashes of colour, while Benfield’s figures have a visually attentive habit of dissolving in and out of their subjected backgrounds and moving across the surface area with a fluidity and ease, suggestive of human trajectory itself.
Aside from his fleet handed painting approach and technique, Benfield is also particularly well known in the contemporary figurative and wildlife art community and amongst fans of his chosen genres for his perfectionistic streak. Like most, Benfield continually strives for excellence in his field, yet taking this a stage further the award-winning and much sought-after fine artist regularly discards a large percentage of his nearly-finished artworks, we have it on good authority; essentially only keeping those compositions which he feels are perfected in their conception rather than risk over-elaborating on those that Benfield stresses won’t make the exacting bar he sets himself.

Born in Birmingham, in situated in the heart of England back in 1965, Benfield went on to study art in the two higher educational surrounds on completion of his state-necessitated education. After a period of study at nearby Stourbridge College of Art located in Benfield’s familiar West Midlands, he upped sticks and relocated to North Wales, so as to attend the Wrexham College of Art thereafter. At 21 – and once finishing his stints with academia – Benfield announced his imminent arrival on the contemporary art world by making the decision to turn professional at just 21 years of age, in 1986. As a newly-prescribed freelance illustrator Benfield wasted no time in relocating to London next so as to make a name for and ultimately work towards establishing himself on the selected scene. Focusing his creative efforts on drawing and painting from the outset, Benfield quickly began creating a stir and manifesting something of a buzz around those early works.

Fast forward a few years and Benfield’s figurative and wildlife work was finding favour extensively, both at home and abroad. Today his work is exhibited and collected throughout Europe and much further field besides, having showcased successive mini-series’ and collections in venues for Russia to Canada. The reputation that Benfield has subsequently forged care of his masterful visual interpretation of his subject matter has forced his existence into the conscience of thousands of critics and collectors, who all now consider him amongst the most renowned contemporary artists currently practising in the art world, per se.

When pressed on his inspirations and why exactly he does what he’s now known and loved for in terms of his illustrative work, Benfield is never what you might call lost for words, offering us the following insight into his mind-set and ethos towards his work. Benfield; “The world around me is a continuous sequence of fortuitous events. Objects and figures intertwine in my mind; they dance, they fuse and one adopts the colour and life of another”, he says, before adding; “I find myself drawn into an intimate world where sensuality and delight in life's form are combined in a flight of frolic and fantasy."