In this latest body of work, A Slow Migration, Ben takes us on a journey through stories and experiences as the years rolled by, and he became more settled after migrating from his homeland Ireland to Australia.
Says Ben of his work: “My painting practice over the past few years has been a way for me to come to terms with my feelings about leaving my home and creating another one so far away. As I look now at this body of work there are familiar themes such as the vastness and incomprehensible wildness of the landscape I find myself in.
“Lonely figures are almost swallowed up by the dense, savage undergrowth of the wilderness. But in several of the paintings there are groups of people interacting with each other, with the focus shifting away from their environment. My own family features more prominently now too. I wonder if this is a reflection on whether I have finally migrated after all this time. A sense of community, a family, friendships; I suppose these are the things that make it possible to feel rooted in a new land.
“Tír tairngire is Gaelic for ‘land of promise’. This painting is based on the Irish legend of Oisín who follows Niamh to a mythical land where no-one grows old. He stays for three hundred years, yet it only feels like three years to Oisín. Here he is about to decide whether to return to Ireland to visit his family, unaware of the dramatic changes that have occurred.”
Signed on back.