Place and my immediate environment are central to my practice.
Painting in oils I paint traditional genres of landscape and portraiture and combine them to realize ideas, culminating in my on-going series of paintings London Faces. I am exploring the idea that our surroundings profoundly affect the human psyche and we begin to reflect our environment. Having moved from the quiet countryside of my youth to adapt to city life, I experienced the transition from being a visitor to becoming a Londoner. One soon becomes acclimatized to the city and adopts a generic “London face” often with a remote expression. Exploring this connection between people and their environment I combine the two, constructing human faces from facets of London architecture and the fabric of the city. Inspired by Arcimboldo’s portraits of assembled objects I create faces using combinations of bridges, moorings, tower blocks and a multitude of iconic monuments. Through this process I create a cityscape portrait of a city dweller.
In my ongoing series London Faces I have been exploring the power of man and the legacy left through creations i.e buildings in the city of London. However with the recent spate of storms and extreme weather causing destruction I am drawn to the idea of nature ‘reclaiming’ manmade structures. Over the last few months I have painted landscapes inspired by the storms and that occurred in the southwest of England where I was raised. I spent a few days drawing in Dawlish where the railway track fell into the sea. It's fascinating having first hand experience of how people felt/reacted; a combination of fear and amazement and a reminder of how defenseless we are in the face of extreme weather. I have largely worked from sketches, memory and imagination to create these works.
© Miranda Benzies