Jason Benjamin resisted the dominance of ideas in contemporary art – he preferred to champion art as experience. Benjamin’s exquisitely rendered oil paintings, with their careful distillation of light and space, invite contemplation and emotional engagement. Despite being based in Sydney, this country’s largest city, Benjamin engaged with the visual language and tradition of landscape and still life painting. However, while his memory and experience of particular locations may have ignited each new body of work, Benjamin’s paintings are rarely literal or precise. Elusive and prophetic titles invite a narrative and an attachment between viewer and painting, one based on hope and renewal.
Benjamin cited a fascination with Chinese landscape traditions, the influence of which can be detected in his calligraphic gum trees. He confessed his love for the elegant minimalism of Canadian born painter Agnes Martin and the estranged melodies of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Like them, he was committed to refining his idiom by stripping away all unnecessary elements. Certainly, a minimalist spirit crept into Benjamin’s most recent painting – his palette became restricted and his subjects more spartan. Submitting to simplicity liberated Benjamin and lead to a new found serenity, for both the artist and his paintings.
Benjamin was a finalist in multiple art prizes including the Archibald Prize, the Wynne Prize, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, The John Leslie Art Prize and the Fleurieu Landscape Prize. His entry in the 2005 Archibald Prize was awarded the Packing Room Prize. His work is included in collections both nationally and internationally, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Parliament House Art Collection, Artbank and Gold Coast City Art Gallery.Download CV