Night Paintings by Paul Benney

4 October – 9 December 2012
Daily 10.00-18.00, Until 21.00 on Thu 29 Nov & 6 Dec
Deadhouse
Free admission

Celebrated British artist Paul Benney, a resident artist at Somerset House, brings his Night Paintings to the hidden passageways underneath its fountain courtyard for the first exhibition of its kind in this unique space. Curated by Flora Fairbairn, the exhibition includes more than 25 paintings, comprised of past and new works created over the duration of the artist’s tenure as a resident artist. The exhibition is the first exhibition of paintings to be held in our Deadhouse, a series of hidden, atmospheric chambers which contain the gravestones of 17th century palace retainers beneath The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court.

Night Paintings reveals Benney’s deep interest in the intangible world we see beyond the mirror. His allegorical paintings are inspired by a long tradition of artists including Goya, Rembrandt and Velázquez, whose art, whether allegorical, religious or historical, flourished alongside their works of portraiture, the one informing, shaping and redefining the other. The exhibition sees Benney return to painting the shamanistic presences which have long preoccupied him, introducing us to people who dwell in mysterious hinterlands, who belong in places that lie somewhere between the earthbound and the transcendent. He paints figures which, while their meanings can never quite be fixed, embody some sense of our spiritual quest.

Paul Benney Spotlight Tour
Tuesday 4 December at 13.15
Artist Paul Benney offers an insight into the ideas and inspirations behind his new exhibition Night Paintings at Somerset House. Limited spaces on the tours are bookable at the Seamen's Hall Info Desk from 12.45. Visit Paul Benney's website here

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