5 Aug 2014

Ben Fenton

The Women of World War Two. Sketch no. 2

Every few days Mr Ben Fenton pops up in my social network news feed. His unique and hypnotic recipe produces oils which instantly capture me. Over the last six of months I've find myself increasingly drawn to his site and facebook albums, clicking next with a mix of nervous abandon and voyeurism. It's not hard to see why. Fenton's subjects are not typical but this is far from a freak show. The word respect is heading in the right direction but I'm torn between that and tribute. He hints at warning, even discipline but description is unadulterated and unapologetic.

Sinner man 02 (blue)

The Women of World War Two sketch number 2 to me is mind blowing. Sinner man 02 (blue) dangerously simple and Portrait for the tattooed man the stuff of dreams for many a Photoshop junkie but Fenton seems to punch this stuff out like so much warm breath. I've been tempted to message Ben and ask some questions. Lots of questions. His own introduction - 

I come from a small place in Kent called Dungeness.

I live in a small place in East Sussex called Rye.

My childhood was accompanied by a Poltergeist.

I’m fascinated by death, disease, deformity, anguish, fear, pain and disability.

I paint in response to my fascination. 

- is almost too much not enough but I fear he may see me. I fear he might paint me. His savage clarity is surely no mirror for the living.

Part of the solution.

Fenton's work is hard in a way that makes Guy Ritchie characters look like Californian sunbathers and quiet like Lynch leaving no visible scars. I'm stuck on Fenton and for a long time yet and look forward to enjoying some of his work in the thin flesh. You can see more of his work here.

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