Found in East Anglia
Abstract artworks made in Manningtree between 2015 and 2016 using materials reclaimed from East Anglia.
Friday 4 August 6-9pm
Saturday 5 August to Saturday 30 September 2017
Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm
Benjamin Brown has a free and easy approach to the making of his work. He explores the world with a playful spirit and an open mind, much as a child might.
As he travels around East Anglia he picks up materials that people have discarded in skips or left lying by the side of the road – boards, lengths of timber, paint – as well as gathering elements from nature like mud, grass or moss. These resources then become the materials that Benjamin uses to make his paintings,
Most of us would see these items as detritus – unwanted stuff that clutters up the space around us – and we would tend to ignore it. But this stuff comes directly from the people who live here – their leftover tins of paint, unwanted boards or timber from a building project, an old framed poster that has fallen out of favour and been thrown outside to rot – they all speak of the society that produces them, moves them around, then discards them to pass out of sight and mind.
By appropriating these objects and making paintings from them, Benjamin is making work that speaks of a hidden landscape – not the picturesque and bucolic ones that Constable and Gainsborough favoured, rather the ignored, unseen and forgotten that many of us contribute to but not many consider. He absorbs the essence of the place he lives in then reconfigures it to create his abstract works.
The paintings that are produced from these sources are free and easy abstracts. Having had no formal art training, Benjamin is able to approach making with no inhibitions or preconceptions (at least not the ones that most who pass through art school are likely to have). The resulting works are full of energy and exploration, with powerful brush strokes that communicate the animalistic movement and bold gestures that have taken place.
Alongside these large-scale paintings, Benjamin is also showing a group of photographs and a selection of ceramic pots. The photographs document some of the un-common and un-celebrated sights that he comes across in East Anglia, and again these include both the natural world – verges, untended patches of land, wild plants and weeds, and the manmade – abandoned materials, people he has followed, strange activity.
Perhaps the connection between Benjamin’s works is an interest in the marginal and ignored – the stuff that is often left out and unconsidered. This can be fertile ground – the patch of land that is left untended and begins to return to nature has a different kind of life-force – it is untamed and unchecked and finds its own path. And the rubbish that we discard also has its own life – it forms piles, rots and decays, or is picked up by some passerby to become part of something made from what we consider to be useless trash.
About the artist
Benjamin Brown (b.1989) is an emerging artist living in Manningtree, the smallest town in the UK. As a musician he has played in various bands and is currently a member of SuperGlu. He started painting in 2015.
The Triptych Athos, Porthos, Aramis was selected as one of the featured works in the Penarth Open and some of his photos were selected for Martin Parr’s Essence of Essex exhibition at Firstsite.