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.
“My mum and her sister moved to Ireland in the early 70’s. Coming from England it must have felt like they were travelling to the wild west. I often think about the parallels between their time settling into life away from their own culture and friends and family and my own experience of emigrating to Australia. This painting is a bit unusual in that the two female figures are a double portrait of my wife, so although she represents my aunt and mother, this painting is very much about us too.”
Signed on back.
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