Quest for the Inner Spirit
Ben is currently carving a twice-lifesize torso in Bath stone of Olympic swimmer Mark Foster for the City of Bath. He has just completed a lifesize brone sculpture of the Paralympian “Blade Runner”, Oscar Pistorius, which was unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square on International Paralympic Day, September 8. His “Avenue of Champions”, a series of 18 lifesized sculptures of celebrated Olympians and Paralympians, will launch at Bath Contemporary in May 2012 and then go on show in Salisbury Cathedral during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Ben’s works are an exploration of the figure. Whether human or equine, the narrative he creates fuses techniques of the sculpture masters of the past with the best natural materials while using a contemporary approach. He draws the viewer into a personal dialogue with the sculpture by bringing out the spirit of the figure within, reflecting the inner truth of the stone.
Born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, Ben Dearnley spent much of his life surrounded by music. With his late father having been an organist of St. Pauls Cathedral, he spent his early years exposed to the majesty of music and sculpture of the highest order. This was a major underlying influence for his work as a sculptor.
"Having spent 22 years working closely with some of the world's top saxophonists, my connections with this form of intuitive expression has given me an unusual insight for my approach to sculpture, together with a deep love for the masters of the past: Rodin, Michelangelo and Canova. Each of these sculptors has one thing in common - they are all involved with the figure and its expressive nature, truth and beauty. My practice is focused on the figure and the narrative I wish to create which fuses the traditional materials of the past with the modern world.
“My work is focused on the figure: the narrative I wish to create fuses the traditional materials of the past with the modern world. The way I approach this is to draw the viewer into a personal dialogue with the sculpture by presenting them with a seductive surface of the fragmented figure. This is where the past is reflected by the choice of material and its particular fragmentation. The position of the sculpture reflects an inner truth, which I am developing within the hidden spaces of the form.
“I am working towards the second attention, the deeper consciousness or spirit. My desire is to produce work that, once seen, stays with the viewer in their mind’s eye, making a connection on a deeper level. The work I produce aims to reflect the nature of complex multi-layered individuals that make the world go round, thus it is never a single layer that sits on the surface.”
His work is in The Royal Academy of Music, London, and in private collections around the world. Many of his works are currently on show at the Royal Windsor Suite and VIP Olympic and Paralympics suite in Terminal 5, Heathrow.
April 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympics Snowboard Design Commission for presentation to the Canadian High Commission
March 2010 Artist at the ‘Journey to the Podium', Colchester Community Football stadium. The first of the official London 2012/Essex County Council Olympic commissioned shows
March 2010 Tertis Commission, Isle of Mann, a commemorative bust of the patron Mrs. Lillian Tertis. This work is created to honor Mrs. Tertis who set up the International Tertis Viola Competition which is now in it's 30th year. My bronze portrait of Mr. Lionel Tertis is on permanent display at the Royal Academy of Music in the strings museum, London
March 2010 The @ Bristol Gallery, group show
March 2010 T5 Gallery Heathrow, group show with ‘The Art of Sport' raising money for the charity Sports Aid
March 2010 Private commission, half life size torso of Olympian Mark Foster, Bath stone
February 2010 Lloyds arts group ‘The Art of Sport' Winter Olympic and Paralympics works the Canadian High Commission, London
December 09 T5 Gallery, group show in the terminal 5 building taking the coming 2012 Games as a reference point, also covering the 2010 Winter Olympic Games
December 09 Essex cultural Olympic conference, workshop facilitator and presentation of the ‘Journey to the Podium project', an Official London 2012/ Essex County Council Commission.