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Ben Wakeling


Ben Wakeling is a painter with a background in graffiti and street art. His work exists in a space between figuration and abstraction. Figures often exist beneath semi-opaque layers of paint (reminiscent of ‘buffed’ or painted over graffiti) or entangled within webs of gestural marks.

His work is instinctive and deeply personal - rooted in his experience of mental health recovery, both his own and those with whom he works as an art therapist and artist in residence with the NHS.

He's a multifaceted talent who works across distinct but interconnected media. His approach to mark-making is expressive and immediate, and contains within it the expression of a sensitive and probing mind. Drawing upon his own past experiences with some of the lesser-discussed areas of the human psyche, Ben uses his work as a way of exploring trauma, vulnerability, and insecurity.

His paintings combine the delicacy of the brush with the aggression of the paint-filled fire extinguisher. The resulting work sits somewhere within a liminal space that contains the essence of either polarity and is more than the sum of its parts: a dichotomy of equals. It is this almost-contradiction that imbues these works with such power. They are conflicted, raw, and thus reflect the human condition.

The human figure present in the work is often trapped in a wild and frenetic mass of expressive gesture that threatens to tear the surface apart. Isolated upon a sparse and desolate plain, these writhing figures are almost lost, barely hanging on. Subject matter and content are perfectly entwined in this, struggling and enduring despite these destructive presences that pull from every direction.


Ben's work

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