Martin Bentham RWA
An exhibition at The Art Room Topsham, from 8th October to 6th November 2012, included selected works by Martin Bentham, the outstandingly gifted observational painter who learnt his craft from, among others, Michael Garton and Clifford Fishwick at Exeter College of Art and Design during the eighties.
He has been exhibiting professionally for over 30 years and was elected an Academician in 2009.
Martin lives and works in the beautiful Mendips and these surroundings have inspired much of his pastoral work which he often paints in situ. Other pieces are like ‘time capsules’ portraying the every day life of a rural community such as busy market stalls or meat preparation in the butchers shop, both of which are being threatened by the ever encroaching presence of the supermarket.
Now in his 50s, Martin is moving away from realism, recognising that in a world constantly bombarded with ‘real’ images, painting must present an alternative way of seeing and it is the paint itself, the surface, which has its own voice. This exciting celebration of paint and mark making is the essence of Martin’s new and invigorated practice.
He quotes Lucien Freud: ‘the picture in order to move us must never merely remind us of life but must acquire a life of its own’