CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is excited to announce an outstanding solo exhibition of new work by Emma Bennett near to its previous gallery site in Shoreditch at 64 Charlotte Road. New work will be presented on the ground floor, accompanied by a retrospective in the basement.
This group of paintings were made in a turbulent year for Bennett, which began with several journeys back and forth between London and Wales to visit her poorly father. Visits to the hospital bedside and then, after his death, to the old family home resonated with a wistfulness that is familiar to the artist, whose primary interests include those of memory, time and transience. Upon returning to London, and during the Covid pandemic, these paintings were made.
Bennett adopts enduring motifs including fruit, flowers, drapes, hanging hare, mirrored reflections and ascending stairs, bestowing them with astounding emotional resonance. The artist states: “It is the fragments of still life painting that dominate these images, with clusters of flowers infused with love. Within the endless space of the black grounds, I wanted the compositions to be a guide that leads you, as if following a family line. The figurative elements that coexist here reflect on our relationships with family and significant others – those who inspire us and those who have diminished us.”
Fire is another motif that Bennett has explored in recent years: “Still life and fire have coexisted for some time in my paintings as I’ve attempted to hold the flame and the flammable in a precarious balance or on the point of combustion. Here there are multiple fires: for a lost spark can ignite a memory of a past flame. White heat threatens to scorch the fruit that encircles it.”
Bennett emphasizes that nature is preeminent. She meditates on individual events that have a long-lasting legacy, transcending the lives of those who live through them as well as the imaginations of those who follow.