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Introducing Ben Risk

Out of his Bristol based studio Ben Risk creates works that invite the viewer on a familiar but surreal adventure. Everyday images, memories and observations are collected and elevated into paintings and monoprints that are brilliantly evocative, dreamlike and ambiguous. Whilst the images Ben creates always reference the real world there seems to be a constant shifting between the real and the imaginary; we are given glimpses into somewhere distinctly other. It is this blurring of the lines that draws us in and makes Ben’s work so enticing.

Photo courtesy of Alice Hendy

Much like the artists that have inspired his creative practice, such as Sidney Nolan, Ken Kiff and Kitaj, Ben’s work is highly personal, a reimagining or questioning of daily encounters, train journeys or his local surroundings. When talking about what he hopes the viewer may take away from his work Ben says:

“Perhaps for people to see something that feels strangely familiar, even if it's not immediately clear why, and in some way to create areas of focus.”

Photo courtesy of Alice Hendy

Photo courtesy of Alice Hendy

There is a keen sense of curiosity both in the subject matter of Ben’s work and in his desire to discover new ways of working, often experimenting with materials and methods. Ben's latest series of striking monoprints have been developed using ink and oil pastel to create vibrant, textural pieces. Monoprinting is an intuitive process that often allows chance and happy accidents to play a leading role. Therefore the process of making the work itself can influence how the places and encounters that Ben has experienced are reimagined. This particular series of prints includes bold portraits, mysterious landscapes and ethereal figures, all of which evoke a strong sense of narrative and intrigue.

First Contemporary will be showing Ben’s monoprints at the Affordable Art Fair in Brussels (15 – 18 March) and in Hampstead (10 – 13 May). Get in touch for tickets to the fairs and subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date with all our latest news!


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