Wordless Stories, The Art of Mark Bennion

Obelisks and towers that stand timelessly and point inexorably upwards from an inner ground that doesn't bother to alter time or resist rust. Timeless altars continually arising and pointing to an unseen, but firmly sensed origin.

Here the issue is 'art from the recesses of the self' handled by crafts earned in the world of metals and rust and acids and cloth.

Made from hands that have always made things, always sought the knowledge of things and the devotion inherent in the substance of the world. Hands that learned boat-building because it knows no straight lines and can feed a family from shapes that mimic the curves from the sea. Unsheltered learning that sees craft in the weather and rust and notices time stippling art in the things of the world.

Hands that feel their way through a journey of willing blindness, trying to see into the world to that which sustains it, through the world to that which is within it. A journey that keeps beginning in silence and the stirring of shapes arising from the innermost self as in a silence that shifts to sound, at first quietly, then rising to hold light and shadow for a long time.

Meditative shapes seeking mineral memories and bone-grown images. Galvanic textures with intimate curves that keep announcing the breaking edges of silence. A staunch song of shapes that offer themselves, familiar like trees and mountains able to mark each day and withstand the night.

Painting that cycle back and transit forth through a ground of existence that includes both the future and the past. Wordless stories that invite reverie, that lean and stretch the imagination and angle towards meaning.

Paint and plaster that fix little moments on paper, like moments that the inner mind knows in solitude, that allow meanings to enter or escape. Parts of cyclical wheels that appear as if the cover of Nature was worn away to reveal shapes of the world behind the world. Puzzle-like arrangements of towers and circles on fields of cracked ground that invite us to find our own history amongst them.

Nature, caught standing pensively behind the scenery, before it breaks into softer forms. More archetypical than abstract; architectural remnants of thought and insight. Like Seven bells as in Buddhist stories that extoll the seven stages of understanding. Or, three towers inviting us to name their meaning and climb to another knowledge.

Mystery evoked from some bone knowledge of the world of forms. Weather captured as a texture that might be watermarks on the walls of the soul. Or, on massive ancient walls that are trying to speak again. Towers and altars born of years of meditation and centering practices. Totems that grow from silence and chanting, centering through pain and polishing and sanding.

Shaping centers as cycles through practice and art. Oxidation and ordination combining stainless centers with rusting exteriors in a dance that mimics life and the effect of time on all the shapes of the world. Oxidation hinting at the wordless telling of beads of truth that ever elude the quicker forms of life.

Unfolding, explicating, extruding from metal and steel, images of a timeless, stainless center. Totems that stand with the 'presence of being' rusting into time the timeless postures of the self. 'I beams' that arrest the determination of the inner I to exist and persist and remember an 'ancient innocence' of form.

Michael Meade
September 2001


Mark Bennion
17508 94th Ave. S.W.
Vashon Island WA 98070
Tel. 206 463-2395


Mark Bennion (b.1948 Seattle, Washington) is a painter and sculptor who has shown his work across the United States, Canada and Europe since 1968. Over the past 25 years he has developed a unique painting process, which he calls fresco, using oil, dry pigment on plaster, and paper on a panel or canvas.

Since 2006 he has exhibited with the international painters group "Pintura Fresca." They have held exhibitions in Singapore, London UK, San Francisco and West Chester University USA.

He lives and works on Vashon Island, near Seattle, Washington.

Time / Revelator Installation

I am interested in projects that take some time to unfold as opposed to an object that is static. These steel plates, while appearing static, are actually distressing the grass underneath. As time passes the grid will be shifted to reveal a shadow and thus begin the cycle of rejuvenation. Time / Revelator is a story about substance...death...transition...re-birth...continuity and revelation.

Mark Bennion - August 2008