Benjamin Senior (1982 – Present) is a contemporary figurative artist from Southampton, UK, who currently lives and works in London. He holds an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art, and has exhibited his work at Art Basel Hong Kong and at Frieze New York.
Many of Senior’s works resemble carefully choreographed scenes, depicting figures engaged in leisurely activities like swimming. Some compositions abstract the human form, reducing it to more simple geometric shapes, which are echoed by the graphic patterns he incorporates in the clothing of his figures and in the flattened background. His works combine bright, energetic colours with a sense of voyeurism. The artist first began drawing at the age of three, and states: ‘I think of painting and drawing as world-building.’
Clearly inspired by art historical traditions, ranging from the Renaissance to twentieth century Modernism, Senior often works with the ancient medium of egg tempera: hand mixing egg yolks with coloured pigmants in his own studio. This thin painting technique allows him to build up luminous layers. The artist’s flattened and graphic style also lends itself well to printing techniques. First introduced to printmaking by taking a residential course in wood engraving with Sarah van Niekerk at West Dean College, Senior takes inspiration from a group of English wood engravers, including Gertrude Hermes, Blair Hughes-Stanton, and Lettice Standford. He is particularly interested in the connection between the craft of printmaking and Modernism. For Senior, printmaking constitutes a visual language which is ‘both parochial and witchcrafty.’
Works by Senior have been exhibited in commercial galleries around the world. His recent exhibitions have included shows at BolteLang, Zurich, Switzerland (2015), Grey Noise, Dubai, UAE (2015), and Bruce Haines, London, UK (2016), James Fuentes, New York, USA (2016), ), and Monica de Cardenas, Milan, Italy (2018).