“Inspired By Coast Skies” by Lisa Kither

“Exhibition provides a feast for the senses”

By Lisa Kither – Northside Chronicle – Wednesday, September 20, 2006, Page 83

A collection of oil paintings inspired by our local coastline will go on display this Friday in a special event hosted by Bica Bar and Eatery in Maroochydore. Benjamin Werner’s Land, Sea, Sky paintings focus on the sublime and beautiful and are inspired by moments of sunrise and solitude along the Sunshine Coast. The special launch will provide guests with a “feast for the senses” with a chance to view the collection at Passionfruit Gallery before heading across the road for a glass of wine and a delicious meal from Bica’s special menu. This is a great chance for art and food lovers to meet, discuss the work, enjoy the food and also take in the soft cruisy coastal sounds of renowned local musician Paul Fogarty. Paul will play from his new album that was launched earlier this month. For Ben, this is a special collection and his first showing north of Brisbane, despite the fact that he was raised on the Sunshine Coast.

“My earliest memories are from when I would spend hours watching out over the sea from the beach for my dad to paddle in from surfing” he said.

“And the days sitting on the headland waiting for him to fly past in his hang-glider like a bird. I was always waiting and watching. So I guess this is where my love of the coastal envirionment and its small details began.”

The collection and Ben’s talent has also impressed Passionfruit Gallery owner Katie Ransom.

“I love the way Benjamin has incorporated a realist/impressionist style of painting with the modern movement of stencil art,” she said. “He has blended these two distintly different methods of painting to create a unique, impacting body of work.

“As I admire the paintings, I feel as though my own silhouette could be marked onto the canvas from behind, the powerful colours and motion of the sky and sea demand full attention and wash over with that free, magic mood of being alone in the silence of daybreak.” “This Black void of human space, whether a human figure itself or other man-made objects, only puts us in our place as mere observers of mother nature at her most stunning.”

The traditional idea of the sublime interests Ben, as well as the ongoing pursuit of what constitutes these feelings in contemporary environments. It also was a major comonent for his thesis when Benjamin completed his honours degree at the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane. He has been exhibiting his work over the past five years in various group and solo exhibitions throughout Austarlia. Among preparations for his many upcoming shows, he also manages to fit in lecturing at the Southbank Institute of Creative Industries. Meanwhile, Ms Ransom is endeavouring to lure Sunshine Coast residents who study art in Brisbane, like Benjamin, back to their inspirational home. When asked how he felt about showcasing his work on the Sunshine Coast for the first time , Benjamin said it was a rewarding experience.

“The idea of local businesses and councils getting behind the arts and intiating things like the inaugural Sunshine Coast Art Prize proves it is quite an exciting time for the arts community on the Sunshine Coast and I am proud to be involved,” he said.

Lisa Kither