Benjamin Warner: Influences for Abstract painting collection

Kenneth Warner, Benjamin’s father was a huge influence on his decision to approach abstract work, what started as a collaboration of surfaces has flourished into a huge part of Benjamin’s own artistic practice. In February 2018, Beside the Wave exhibited a collection of abstract paintings by Warner for the very first time across both gallery spaces; the collection received much admiration from collectors old and new.

Benjamin Warner’s abstract paintings are a powerful combination of highly worked surfaces and clever composition which both indicate an almost Abstract Expressionist intention, as well as a constructivist understanding of shape and form. With an innate comprehension of the visual identity of how a painting works, these abstract paintings masterfully adhere to the golden ration. The Golden Ratio has been used as a powerful composition tool for centuries, hailed as ‘the perfect number’, it can assist in creating images that have a strong effect. Benjamin uses this tool as a way of allowing compositional components to speak for themselves and push geometric shapes in and out of focus for the viewer. By using geometric forms but slightly blurring their edges and keeping shapes loose, Benjamin achieves a sense of these floating forms existing across the picture plane. Judging when a piece is finished is a balancing act in the studio for Benjamin, he often leaves paintings for months before returning and finishing them. By achieving what he calls a ‘sense of rhythm and belonging’ this is the marker Benjamin strives for when finishing a piece.

Dance, 30.5 x 46 cm, oil on board, £1,050
Dance, Oil on board, 30.5 x 46 cms, £1,050 – view online

In terms of visual influences, Benjamin takes inspiration from his surroundings whether that is shapes he sees on television programmes or how something is pulled together in landscape. His starting points are incredibly varied but there is always a moment where the painting begins to dictate itself and move away from the original starting point. Not only do their elemental construction reference a formalist approach to painting, Benjamin’s abstracts take influence from the St. Ives artists working through the 1930s- especially Roger Hilton with his palette and then Patrick Heron with his shapes. With an emphasis on materiality, simple line and accentuated forms, both the St. Ives painters and Warner prioritise the construction of a painting as very much on show, there is no illusion and the painting becomes its own visual history with densely built layers of oils.

Click Clack, 30.5 x 43.5 cm, oil on board, £995
Click Clack, Oil on Board, 30.5 x 43.5 cms, £995 – view online

The roughened quality of not only the paint application but also surface material, allows Benjamin to produce paintings where there is a unification between artist and artwork. There is an implication that Warner works with the surface instead of dictatorially working on the surface which exposes a truly intuitive handling of medium. With both the act of painting and unpainting (removing), Warner’s work insists on a sense of longevity and timelessness which allows the viewer to experience the painting as an autonomous object- existing with its own essence. By often scraping layers of paint back, Benjamin’s work carries a trace or a ghost of what has gone before it therefore giving it a more impactful final effect. With the lack of concrete subject matter, the paintings could be deemed a surface level, modern creation; however, Warner does not disregard the historical codes and conventions of the painting model. In fact, he uses many tools such as impasto, colour theory and traditional application which reveal his complex understanding of the painting world. Through adapting these methods and tools slightly to his own approach and the removal of an obvious subject matter, Benjamin’s abstracts allow for a more sublime, emotional response. This is then often emphasised by the titling of the work, both constructed before and after a painting is made, the language Benjamin uses is both poetic and descriptive. Either derived from real place names or from an emotional experience, the titles act as a nudge in the right direction for the viewer rather than explicitly signposting-they give them an identity without dictating a prescriptive viewing.

Balance and tension are both present in these abstract pieces, with sliding forms buffering against one in another in slight tonal differences, the paintings ask the viewer to fill in the gaps with their own imagination and experience. Colour, although not vivid or primary, plays a strong role in Benjamin’s work as it acts as a vehicle to reference things in our surrounding world. By splitting composition through colour and line, Warner’s work also holds a textile quality, sharing characteristics with artists such as Sandra Blow with her woven like compositions in similar colours that profoundly blurred the lines between object and painting. Both Warner and Blow, use colour as a way of producing abstract, geometric pictures which emphasise patterns, tones and shapes found in the elemental world. Benjamin’s work shows a substantial comprehension of the need for varied pigmentation and saturation within a painting, he does this by using umbers and ochres across the background and middle ground which is then often dramatically altered with the interruption of a blue or orange gesture. With this combination of muted earth tones and an occasional vibrant insertion, Benjamin’s work can speak of the landscape he exists in, both urban and natural. There is also a balance between Warner’s abstract and representational work, each practice informs the other and allows Benjamin to move forward with both sets of paintings. The abstract work allows for a more in-depth experimentation and learning curve in terms of material and surface which then can be translated into the representational works, they keep each other fresh and exciting.

Spatial I (Green)

Spatial I (Green), Oil on board, 15 x 14 cms, £395 – view online

The idea that a piece of art can both reference the visual world we live in through abstract forms which we recognise, but also can avoid being too indicative of specificities and box viewers in, is not a new revelation. However, we believe abstract art has become even more relevant in our ever-changing world. With the over stimulation of visual imagery and an instantaneous culture, abstract art acts as the reminder that we can exist in a slower and more indefinite manner. Benjamin Warner’s work is an intense yet generous dialogue between colour and form, both of which are always rooted in him as a person and what he visually encounters in his everyday life. He is an artist of our time that is saving abstraction from a clinical or remote dynamic and is instead lurching it towards association and emotion.

View the full collection of Benjamin Warner Abstract Paintings available at Beside The Wave Gallery online here.

Our New Year’s Resolution

With the fresh New Year now upon us, we wanted to kickstart our blog again and what better way to start than a look back at all of our most liked Instagram posts from both Beside the Wave Cornwall and Beside The Wave London from 2016 – catching us up to today and celebrating some of our favourite work from the year.

Richard Tuff: Harbours & Houses

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Paintings and drawings by Richard Tuff

We are very pleased to announce the opening of a wonderful new collection by Richard Tuff at Beside The Wave Cornwall. This spectacular collection visits some of Cornwall’s most loved harbours and more hidden beaches and valleys. His beautiful use of colour evokes emotional responses to his charming compositional pieces.

Richard Tuff was born in Manchester in 1965. He completed a Foundation Art Course at Mid Cheshire College of Art in 1985 and went on to gain a Degree in Textile Design at Winchester School Of Art, showing his final year work at the Smiths Gallery, Covent Garden. After a highly successful time working as a textile designer, with his designs used for the textile industry in America, Europe and Japan, Richard moved to Cornwall at the end of 1988 and since then has concentrated on his paintings.

Richard Tuff’s paintings have a unique almost child like charm to them. His jewel-like colours are rich and strong with many subtle changes of light and tone capturing so well on paper the Cornish harbours and towns. He carefully studies the subject matter to be painted and then captures the essence and the feeling of a place, often disregarding the natural order of things.

Richard Tuff has been represented by Beside The Wave since 1989 where he has developed a strong following of collectors from across the UK. His work is shown in solo exhibitions in both Beside The Wave Cornwall and Beside The Wave London.

‘Richard Tuff: Harbours & Houses’ runs at Beside The Wave Cornwall from today until 26th May 2016.

‘PAUL LEWIN: SHORE LIGHT’

We are pleased to announce that our solo show of new work by Paul Lewin, Shore Light’, is now open at Beside the Wave Falmouth. This breathtaking collection features 31 pieces in Paul’s classic and unique style, with an impressive range of captivating and powerful large scale pieces, perfectly depicting the overwhelming landscape of the Cornish coast, along with more reflective, smaller works, that show the charm and beauty of the Cornish seascape.

The show will be on display until 17th September 2015 and can now also be viewed on our website.

At First Sight

'Into the Light, St Anthony Pines' by Andrew Tozer
‘Into the Light, St Anthony Pines’ by Andrew Tozer

The individual connections that we all experience with artwork is part of the reason why we love what we do so much.

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Yesterday, the painting ‘Into the Light, St Anthony’s’ by Andrew Tozer sold from Andrew’s current solo exhibition at Beside the Wave Falmouth to a couple with a very sentimental connection to the work. Having met in Cornwall 30 years ago, Sarah and James spent many hours walking together at St Anthony’s and so on seeing this piece of one of their favourite places they “fell in love with the painting right away”.

Thank you to them both for sharing their story with us, including a photo of the two of them at St Anthony’s in 1985.

‘Andrew Tozer: Celebrating the Landscape’

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‘July Sunshine, Helford Passage’ by Andrew Tozer

A not-to-be-missed solo exhibition of new paintings by one of Cornwall’s most renowned artists in recent years, ‘Andrew Tozer: Celebrating the Landscape’ opens tomorrow at Beside the Wave, Falmouth.

Born in Cornwall in 1974, Andrew Tozer’s personal connection to the Cornish landscape began growing up in a farming family. Spending a great deal of his time outside, it was during this early and prolonged exposure to the landscape that the foundations of his art were laid.

Andrew trained at Falmouth School of Art and Design, University of Westminster and St Martin’s School of Art and Design then returned home to Cornwall to paint the places he loves.

His masterful, vibrant paintings aim to reflect the nature of his surroundings in a simple and truthful way. The key to this for Andrew is working out of doors, ‘en plein air’, resulting in landscapes expressed with breath-taking immediacy, fleeting impressions rendered in such a way as to capture the essence of what’s there; animated by light and its transient qualities.

Hailed as a master at depicting light on water, Andrew’s highly collected work has been exhibited widely throughout Cornwall and other parts of the UK. This new solo show ‘Andrew Tozer: Celebrating the Landscape’ runs until Thursday 13th August 2015 at Beside the Wave, Falmouth and will also be available to view on our website from tomorrow.

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‘Into the Light, St Anything Pines’ by Andrew Tozer
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‘High Tide, Helford Village, June’ by Andrew Tozer