ABOUT THE ARTIST
Mark Bennion’s style has evolved over a lifetime from large-scale installation work to sculptures and collages to paintings. His recent work reflects many minimal influences, concentrating on the simple geometric abstraction, though there are variations of size and shape.
Throughout his prolific career in museum presentation, gallery shows and private commissions, he continues to explore a theme that has long interested him: the thread between ancient and contemporary culture. According to the artist, “My work has always been about the uncovering of an ancient innocence. It is about a simple geometry that interacts with the changing world that is around us and is within us.”
Over the past 30 years, Mark Bennion has developed a unique painting process, which he calls “Fresco” technique using oil, plaster on paper on panel or canvas. He sees this as a “confluence of eastern and western techniques and traditions”, a nod to the long and important history of paper and painting in the Pacific NW. The work on plaster is painted and sanded, and painted over and over, sometimes 4 or 5 layers but often up to 10 or 12 until the work in done. This process, which he began over 30 years ago, lends itself to many of his interests. Like the Frescoes of Pompeii, Bennionʼs paintings themselves convey a sense of history and tradition where ancient walls and the decay of structures might be juxtaposed with the markings and geometry of the mythology from many cultures. Bennion says, “There is a silent knowing in these markings. An ancient innocence that becomes familiar for some reason.”
Mark Bennionʼs paintings express two different ways of looking at the natural world, both highly abstract. One is an impression of simple shapes floating in negative space created by layers of transparency. The others are sensitive gestures taken from details in nature against layers of color, one on top of the other. Mist, rain, clouds, twigs, branches, small leaves become the visual fodder for abstract images, suggesting meditations and thoughts about time and memory. These sensitive works allow a viewer to ruminate and meditate, to find their own meaning amongst this and the viewer’s unique experience..
A practicing Buddhist for much of his adult life, Bennion is not as concerned with the specific story each painting or sculpture tells, moreso the remembrance he hopes it inspires within the viewer. He has exhibited both painting and sculptural works across the United States, Canada and Europe since 1968.
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.
17508 94th Ave. S.W.
Vashon Island WA 98070