British artist Julie Bennett creates distinctive gestural paintings to critically engage with the discourse surrounding the cult of celebrity in contemporary society. Bennett looks at the effect of fame, glamour and beauty through the re-appropriation of mass-mediated images of anonymous faces surrounding celebrities. She translates every day faces into bold, aspirational multi-layered works of art.
The subject matter of her portraits might be the individual in a crowd or the model advertising a celebrated branded product. The unknown person is elevated from the mundane to the status of icon through paint. In only superficially adhering to the photographic source, she allows the randomness of the brush strokes to bring out the personality of the subject. A personality that was superfluous to the intentions of the mediated image from which they were drawn from.
Oil, gloss, acrylic paint and gestural brushwork are used as part of her transformation process. Paint and subject become one as these highly personal interpretations emerge out of the influence of the superficiality of mass culture.
Bennett has featured in various publications ranging from The Guardian (2011), The Independent, (2008), The Standard (2007), Artist and Illustrated Magazine (2007) to Stylist (2011).
Bennett has exhibited solo and in various group exhibitions. National exhibitions include those at Victoria and Albert Museum (2010), Sartorial Gallery (2009), Saatchi online (2008) and Transition Gallery (2008).
These striking portrait paintings by Julie Bennett have become a familiar sight in London’s contemporary art scene.
Julie Bennett photographed by Yang-May Ooi
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