|2000-2002||MA Painting||Royal College of Art, London|
|1990-93||BA (Hons) Fine Art||Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford|
|ONE PERSON EXHIBITIONS|
|2013||The Making of an Anthropologist||CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, London|
|2007||Bad Moon Rising||Rockwell, London|
|2004||Cocheme Fellow Show||Byam Shaw School of Art, London|
|SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS|
|2016||The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 22 Painters (curated by Alex Gene Morrison & Kiera Bennett)||CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, London|
|2015||Die English Kommen! New Painting from London (curated by Zavier Ellis)||Galerie Heike Strelow, Frankfurt|
|2014||Saatchi’s New Sensations and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT (curated by Zavier Ellis, Simon Rumley & Rebecca Wilson)||B1, Victoria House, London|
|2014||A Comfortable Man - Cathal Smyth||Wilton’s Music Hall, London|
|2014||Summer Saloon Show||Lion & Lamb, London|
|2014||Strange Meeting||Canal Projects, London|
|2014||Speaking Space||Collyer Bristow, London|
|2013||Art Britannia||Lion & Lamb @ Art Basel Miami|
|2013||London Abstrakt||BRAUBACHfive, Frankfurt|
|2013||Saatchi Gallery & Channel 4’s New Sensations and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT (curated by Zavier Ellis, Simon Rumley & Rebecca Wilson)||B1, Victoria House, London|
|2013||Summer Saloon Show||Lion & Lamb, London|
|2012||Saatchi Gallery & Channel 4’s New Sensations and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT (curated by Zavier Ellis, Simon Rumley & Rebecca Wilson)||B1, Victoria House, London|
|2012||The Hair of The Dog (curated by Reece Jones)||Block 336, London|
|2012||The Perfect Nude (curated by Dan Coombs & Phillip Allen)||CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, London|
|2012||Polemically Small (curated by Zavier Ellis & Edward Lucie-Smith)||Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham|
|2012||The Perfect Nude (curated by Dan Coombs & Phillip Allen)||Wimbledon Art College Space, London|
|2011||Saatchi Gallery & Channel 4’s New Sensations and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT (curated by Zavier Ellis, Simon Rumley & Rebecca Wilson)||B1, Victoria House, London|
|2011||Polemically Small (curated by Edward Lucie-Smith)||Klaipeda Culture Communication Centre, Klaipeda|
|2011||THE FUTURE CAN WAIT presents: Polemically Small (curated by Zavier Ellis, Edward Lucie-Smith & Simon Rumley)||Torrance Art Museum, Torrance|
|2011||The Beard (curated by Kiera Bennett & Alex Gene Morrison)||CHARLIE SMITH LONDON, London|
|2010||THE FUTURE CAN WAIT (curated by Zavier Ellis & Simon Rumley)||Shoreditch Town Hall, London|
|2009||New London School||Galerie Schuster, Berlin|
|2009||THE FUTURE CAN WAIT (curated by Zavier Ellis & Simon Rumley)||Old Truman Brewery, London|
|2008||THE FUTURE CAN WAIT (curated by Zavier Ellis & Simon Rumley)||Old Truman Brewery, London|
|2008||The London Book of the Dead Show||St. Pancras Church Crypt, London|
|2008||Precious Things||High Lanes Gallery Drogheda, Ireland|
|2008||The Past is History||Changing Role Gallery, Naples and Rome|
|2008||Golden Record||Collective Gallery, Edinburgh|
|2007||Hung Drawn Quasi Stellar Object||Portman Gallery, London|
|2007||THE FUTURE CAN WAIT (curated by Zavier Ellis & Simon Rumley)||Old Truman Brewery, London|
|2007||Nature and Society||Dubrovacki Muzeji (Dubrovnik Museums), Dubrovnik|
|2006||Fuckin’ Brilliant! Maji Yabai!||Tokyo Wondersite, Tokyo|
|2005||Acid Drops and Sugar Candy||Transition and Fosterart, London|
|2005||Real Strange||Lounge Gallery, London|
|2005||Art and Sausages||Somerton Rd, London|
|2005||Heaven and Earth||The Hackney Empire, London|
|2005||Into the White||The Hat Factory, Luton|
|2005||Under the Bridge||The Castleford Project, Castleford|
|2005||'...if you go down to the woods today...'||Rockwell, London|
|2004||Cocheme Fellow Show||Byam Shaw School of Art, London|
|2004||John Moores 23||Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool|
|2004||First Assembly||The Ragged School, London|
|2004||Collage||Bloomberg Space, London|
|2004||Model Village||The Old Shoe Factory, London|
|2004||Cut Up||James Colman, London|
|2004||One Night Stand||Pearl Projects, El Montan Motor Hotel, San Antonio, Texas|
|2003||Snow||Transition Gallery, London|
|2003||Portrait of the Artist as an Exquisite Corpse||39, London|
|2003||Full English||MOT, London|
|2003||Reel||83 Culford Rd, London|
|2003||Drawing Room||The Union, London|
|2003||The New Topography||Geoffrey Young Gallery, Massachusetts|
|2003||Into the Grey||Cover Up, London|
|2002||New Contemporaries||Static, Liverpool & Barbican, London|
|2002||Full House||FNR Projects, Camden, London|
|2002||Gatsby||The New Lansdowne Club, London|
|2001||At Home||Lennon, Weinberg Inc, New York|
|2000||Preface: International Biennale for Emerging Artists||The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne|
|1999||The Big Warm Open||Cambridge Darkroom Gallery, Cambridge|
|1999||Vistas||Wigmore Fine Art Gallery, London|
|1998||The Whitechapel Open||The Whitechapel Art Gallery, London|
|AWARDS & RESIDENCIES|
|2005||British Council, Diawa Foundation and Tokyo Wondersite Funded Trip to Tokyo||Tokyo, Japan|
|2004||Cocheme Fellowship||Byam Shaw School of Art|
|2002||Parallel Prize||RCA Final Show|
|2001||Amlin purchase prize (1st prize)||RCA interim show|
|2008||Paintings to be seen in the flesh, Aidan Dunne||The Irish Times|
|2008||THE FUTURE CAN WAIT||Ellis Rumley Projects|
|2007||Nature and Society, text by Richard Dyer||Dubrovacki Muzeji (Dubrovnik Museums), Croatia|
|2007||Bad Moon Rising, Jessica Lack||Pick of the Week, Guardian Guide|
|2007||Issue 4||Fash n Riot Magazine|
|2006||Handmade to the extreme, Fuckin' Brilliant! Maji Yabai!||PingMag Tokyo|
|2005||Heaven + Earth||Exhibition Catalogue|
|2005||Issue 3||Fash n Riot Magazine|
|2004||MOT Full English, Andrew Hunt||Frieze (January Issue)|
|2003||Issue 2||Fash n Riot Magazine|
|2003||Friends in High Places, Jessica Lack||Art Review|
|2002||Bloomberg New Contemporaries||Exhibition Catalogue|
|2002||The Best of the Graduate Shows||Art Review, ArtGraduate|
|2002||Issue 1||Fash n Riot Magazine|
|1999||Hot Tickets||The Evening Standard|
|1998||Postcards on Photography: Photorealism and the Reproduction, Ronne Simpson & Naomi Salaman||Cambridge Darkroom Gallery|
|David and Serenella Ciclitiras|
|Cornelia Parker and Jeff McMillan|
|Arthur G Rosen|
|Private collections in France, Greece, United Kingdom & United States|
|EXHIBITION DATES | Friday 06 April - Saturday 12 May 2018|
|CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present Kiera Bennett’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Bennett continues her exploration of making paintings about the practice of painting, and the actions and emotions that accompany the process. Beginning by making repetitive line drawings, and then repeating the process when making the paintings themselves, Bennett relentlessly seeks to hone her line and form in order to arrive at an essence. This distillation replicates the process of depiction to abstraction that was so well refined by early 20th century Modernism, which in turn referenced perceived notions about early non-Western art.
Bennett’s paintings contrast the Modernist dictum of objectification, however, in being highly personal abstractions (to varying degrees) of life in the studio or working en plein air in imagined landscapes. They might refer directly to artwork or artists that have influenced her, or with which she is preoccupied – Munch’s sun paintings being a prime example. From cave painting to postmodernism via Picasso, Matisse, de Kooning and Guston, Bennett’s reference points are broad, but are employed in a manner which can be unique only to her.
Singular formal elements are appropriated, or transcribed, and worked into an expansive composition. This is in combination with an emotional response to seeing and feeling the original work; making and digesting her own work; and re-imagining and depicting the process of making. And as a female artist working in a post-postmodern arena, Bennett is embracing, inhabiting and deconstructing the tradition of linear, white, male dominated Modernism.
“The work usually turns into conversations with other paintings by other painters. Painting for me is ultimately about creating structures within which I can try to paint in all the ways I want to and establish an ongoing dialogue with the history of art; the behemoth of art history to the present.”
This relationship is affirmative and autobiographical. Whether presenting us with a first or third person view, and therefore inviting us to at times be acting within the scene, and at other times to be observing the scene, there are always references to Bennett’s personal thoughts, feelings and experiences during making work: urgency; futility; meaning; humour; repetition; trance; mania; insomnia; obsession. Ultimately the painted plane becomes a threshold through which the artist and audience might access the history of mark making; shift identities; and touch upon the escapism, nostalgia and delusion that accompanies making paintings.
Please contact gallery for images and further information
|Context: Gallery Artists & Collaborators|
|Peter Ashton Jones, Emma Bennett, Kiera Bennett, Tom Butler, Dan Coombs, Florian Heinke,
Sam Jackson, Reece Jones, Kate Lyddon, Eric Manigaud, Wendy Mayer, Hugh Mendes, Alex
Gene Morrison, Gavin Nolan, Dominic Shepherd, John Stark, Geraldine Swayne, Barry
Thompson, Gavin Tremlett
|EXHIBITION DATES Friday 23 February – Saturday 31 March 2018|
|In our first exhibition of the year, CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is pleased to offer a unique opportunity to view our gallery artists and
key collaborators in context. Gallery Director Zavier Ellis states:
“In some ways a gallery artists show is a pretty dull and unimaginative thing to do. But, on the upside it enables our audience to
digest our stable in context. We are mostly a painter’s gallery, albeit with a curatorial emphasis that embraces every medium when
appropriate. The artists we exhibit are technical, but this is nowhere near enough in itself. You will find that each one of them
makes work with an intense emotional, philosophical or psychological charge, and so their work operates in a challenging,
These artists are lateral thinkers who know that the trajectory of history is not as linear as is often presented, and that everything
operates in a complex, non-hierarchical, interconnected way. Embracing doctrines and tendencies from the modern and
postmodern periods, as well as near and deep history, they conduct their investigation without irony or sentimentality, but rather
with positive affirmation, intelligence and deliberation.
Added to the gallery artists in this show, we have invited others with whom we collaborate regularly, who work in paint, pencil,
charcoal and installation. So in actual fact, a potentially dull and unimaginative idea becomes an intriguing and engaging
proposition. This is not for everyone, but those that get it will be rewarded for their conviction.”
|Sixteen Sentences for Kiera Bennett|
|EXHIBITION Studio Face|
|Plein air says the title, world-evoking,
Yet the image,
A brush poised on canvas,
A lush hilly landscape beneath a radiant sun,
Speaks more about the fullness of art.
Another brush is already at work,
Cresting a hill,
Scudding a cloud,
Circling a sun,
Weaving notes and gests.
Irradiant colours drenched in a painted past,
Of Munch’s dazzling suns,
Klee’s strange contraptions,
The sounding lines of Matisse,
The earthy alla prima of Vanessa Bell.
Nostalgic evocations, old models dissolved
In a world conjured in thin pigment.
The images, one could say, are really image-propositions,
Ideas suspended in air,
Yet anchored in real rhythms —
Of the artist’s hand
Or her head, staring,
Baffled by the futility of it all,
Or the massive trunk of a broken tree
Come crashing down by the house.
‘I morph it’, she says
Of her springboards,
Drawings swift and distracted,
‘To give it rhythm’.
Now a softer palette, a delicate balance
Of arcs, curves, squiggles
Hatched patches of colours,
A studio in yellow and black —
Like Picasso’s portrait of Fanny Tellier,
The girl with a mandolin.
Graphic lines make the jaunty humour,
Holding brushmarks as if in quotation,
Holding the whole curious thing,
— Art —
At arm’s length.
Painting is only half seeing, yes,
But here both eyes feel,
A loving ocular caress of the canvas
Until the image falls just right.
Around the edges paint gathers,
Politely declining to touch the frame —
A gentle reminder that,
Despite the seduction,
This is after all only art.
In the making, she says, an urgency mounts,
From the drummed-out drawings,
To the waiting rectangle,
Erasing and layering until the thing is found,
Variations set down at speed
Bang bang bang
Thrashing out the image.
Next though the thing is skewed and quirked,
A spanner tossed in,
A good bit wantonly destroyed,
She draws finger loops in the air
Her ideas circling crazily around,
An unpredictable swerve,
Rising from atoms.
The swerve from a stately dance
Of wandering night thoughts
To the knot pattern of an ancient buckle,
Charred in a fire, a puzzle.
I see all of this, yes, but still the
Urgency of it —
What is it,
This urgency, why this relentless drive
To set things down?
Never feeling enough time, she says,
So much to do
So many books on the shelf
So much to be painted
All the things in life
(then a low voice from across the room,
With the gallows-humour truth of the matter — ‘death’).)
Galloping onward, time is the challenge
For the painter, painting,
Standing in the studio,
Staring at the world.
|KIERA BENNETT | The Making of an Anthropologist|
|Exhibition Dates : Friday April 5th-Saturday May 11th 2013|
|There are two distinct phases in a sunset. At first, the sun acts as an architect. Only later (when its rays are reflected and not direct) does it become a painter. As soon as it disappears behind the horizon, the light weakens, thus creating planes of vision which increase in complexity with every second. Broad daylight is inimical to perspective, but between day and night there is room for an architecture which is as fantastic as it is provisional. Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, 1955
CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present Kiera Bennett in her first one person exhibition at the gallery.
Bennett is an elusive painter who adopts the tenets of early Modernism in order to paint the experience of contemporary life. Using as a starting point the everyday activities of an artist, Bennett begins with personal experience and the feelings that come with it. The fallible, the ridiculous and the romantic are wryly observed as functions such as smoking, painting, lying around or partying become subject matter that is autobiographical and which is filtered through an instinctive selection process. This is defined by form and by a compulsion to make the fleeting and the fugitive permanent and immovable.
However, Bennett’s works are abstractions of that original experience, and through a process of reduction become paintings about painting. The formal attributes lead us superficially to early 20th century Modernism, but help to affirm a constant and cyclic relationship between Modernist and Postmodernist doctrines. Bennett adopts strategies of early Cubism by simplifying form into line and swathes of colour with striations, and by making numerous drawings and paintings of the same subject, which through initial observation and then repetition lead her to the ultimate rendition. A defined moment can become almost unidentifiable and each painting is current, timeless, and exists in acknowledgement of that which has been before and that which is yet to come.
The emotive nature of the initial experience is of utmost importance to the artist, where a simple function becomes a gateway to a complexity of thought and feeling. Introspection, self-indulgence, escapism, nostalgia, identity, fantasy and reality are just some of the notions that Bennett relates to that original stimulus. But as she proceeds the painting becomes a cypher, symbolic of that first event and its related values. In place of the original meaning we are presented with line, shallow depth and confused space, providing an imagined psychological space that is fractured and dynamic.
|BEN STREET | Box of tricks|
|Exhibition: The Making of an Anthropologist|
|Exhibition Dates: Friday April 5th – Saturday April 27th 2013|
|Instantly recognizable in Kiera Bennett’s paintings are the trappings and tropes of early modernism: the feathered lines of early cubism/late Cézanne, the vibrating geometry of Boccioni or Carrá, the pulsing colours and tabletop domesticity of early Matisse. There are two things that, despite these allusions, Bennett’s paintings aren’t. One, they’re not exercises in art historical nostalgia; two, they’re not sarcastic citations of early modernism, as has been commonplace in recent art. Instead, they hover between reverence and critique, refusing to settle on a fixed position, and in doing so embody a certain attitude about the art of the past: that it’s always there, called back in any act of painting, whether you like it or not. Bennett’s paintings can’t quite decide how they feel about that. The equivocation is all.
This refusal to commit is part of the subject matter of the paintings, too. Figures, when they appear, are always fragmentary, as though glimpsed: they can’t decide to stay or go. Hitchcockian profiles blow smoke rings that are as substantial as they are; hands, arms and backs are described in lines that seem to lose their pictorial moorings and drift away. This condition of being not-quite-there is part of Bennett’s arms-length separation from the modernist ancestors from whom her turns of phrase derive. Inverting the cubist faith in painting’s unique ability to embody the shattered stuff of modern culture, Bennett’s paintings occupy a shifting territory between that confidence and its opposite. Death-haunted as all contemporary painting is – aware of its own anachronistic status in contemporary image-making, and mindful of repeated pronouncements of its demise – these works proceed cautiously, their embodied uncertainty part of what gives them particular force and strength.
Bennett’s work ‘The Painter’ introduces a recurrent theme in the artist’s recent paintings: the image of an artist. The title alone, redolent of a master of disguise’s current incarnation, or bit-part in a play’s cast, carries with it associations of stylistic ventriloquism of a piece with Bennett’s practice as a whole. A figure faces out from the painting’s space, clutching loosely rendered paintbrushes in one fat hand, its face obscured by a rectangular panel. Portraiture’s traditional revelatory function is flipped, here, in a manner reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s 1976 ‘Self Portrait’, which replaces the artist’s face with a mirror. (This is mirror-like, too, with its scuffed tonality and dimly reflected light). And yet Bennett’s painting isn’t even a portrait: it’s a bit of painterly play-acting, fending off a portrait’s claims to truth with allusive sleights-of-hand that make you question what it is you’re actually seeing. Did ‘The Painter’ paint this, or Bennett? Are those dry striations hers or his? In Bennett’s hands, a painting is a site of mudded possession, the painted lines patter in a hammy old stage act, each one a mark of misdirection.
In ‘Painting’, Bennett’s ‘Painter’ is caught in the act, his arm held aloft in dynamic creation, high modern forms spiralling from his brush’s touch. (About that ‘his’: it does seem to be a male modernist she’s channeling, with all the associations of masculine heroic endeavour some early modernism, especially cubism, celebrated). Conflating wand and brush, Bennett recasts the modernist as end-of-the-pier magician, both shyster and enchanter. And when, in ‘Studio’, we see the artist only as a series of shorthand curves – elbow, hunched back, head – the maker and the work are one: he disappears into the painted world. There’s something here about modernism’s sublimation of style to personality, or to the modernist painter’s reshaping of the world in his own image (and that brush-wielding hand does carry distant memories of Michelangelo’s Sistine God), but, as always, Bennett’s conveyance is both allusive and sensually immediate. Her palette – blanched ochres, pinks and pea-greens, enlivened by fizzing complementaries – runs against any sense of post-modernist winking or nudging, saving it from being art about art. ‘Poisoned’, for instance, pits lemon yellow zigzags against thinly rendered purples, oranges and greens; it’s both a performance of its title (acid colour as a malign contaminant of the painted object) and a riff on Bennett’s own stylistic contamination with the visual language of the century gone. And yet its colouristic combinations belong to a contemporary sense of distant time. It hums with a buried heat, recoverable, perhaps, in the act of painting. Bennett’s works enact contemporary painting’s agnostic half-belief: that painting’s communicative powers might never diminish, regardless – perhaps even because – of the exhaustion of its box of tricks.
Ben Street is an art historian, writer and curator based in London. He lectures at the National Gallery, Tate, Saatchi Gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery and for Christie's Education.