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  • Writer's pictureBen Fearnside

Ben Fearnside: An Abstract Journey

My large abstract paintings are my life story, evolving with me over 40 years.

I started young. My family owned Fearnside & Co Art Supplies in Worcester and Malvern. My childhood toys were paint, glue, clay and plaster. Making and playing were the same thing to me (and on a good day, they still are).

A chequered academic career and six years travelling eventually landed me at High Wycombe University, on the prestigious Furniture Design course. Once there I sneaked into silversmithing, metalwork, spray finishing, glass-work and furniture restoration classes. I absorbed it all and my graduation pieces featured at the New Designers’ Exhibition.

I moved to Brighton and the city’s vibrant arts scene shifted me from 3D work to painting metal on canvas, often large-scale. I’ve always been fascinated by metallic surfaces, texture and finish, but Brighton also brought out a slightly neglected side of my work: colour.

I put everything I’ve learned onto the canvas. My materials are glues, resins, powdered and leaf metals, oils, acrylics, inks, acids, ammonia, and solvents. They don't mix willingly; one early experiment landed me in A&E! They have to be integrated through layering, juxtaposition... and alchemy. I allow the natural process of oxidisation to reveal the teal colours of Verdigris or the blood-and-earth of rust. The finished paintings are polish-sealed, light-responsive and change through the day.

Today, I'm exhibiting in Sussex and selling successfully online. I have several collectors and a piece was recently auctioned at Christies. I work from my home studio near Brighton.

That’s my journey. I leave you to look at the work and let the paintings speak for themselves. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.


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