'Wake', Emma Bennett

Black painting, in the centre of the top half of the painting falls a row of six roses of different colour

Oil and French enamel on canvas, 91.5 x 122cm, 2005

Artist's statement

My paintings investigate the emotions associated with love and death; desire, fear and vulnerability. Consisting of appropriated imagery (often from Dutch painting of the 17th century) set against monochromatic grounds, my work is a celebratory combination of languages that explore the relationship between abstraction and representation; contemporary and historical; signifier and signified.

The recent work, including 'Wake', focuses on Dutch flowers that are painted in oil on blue-black French enamel, revealing a reflexive sensibility and embracing the physicality of the materials used. Captivated by the delicate surfaces and the use of light in the original paintings, I find the symbolism of flowers equally resonant. I strive to retain the luminosity of the original Dutch blooms but represent them in varying compositional arrangements so that they appear to be suspended in vast expanses of space. Like the Dutch artists I give the impression that the paintings capture a precious moment in time. Yet, by creating intense monochrome surfaces using veils of poured lacquer, they also look to the abstract expressionist tradition and the associated notion of the void.


Emma Bennett was born in Wellington (UK) in 1974. She studied at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design London 1992-96 and Chelsea College of Art and Design London 1997-98. Selected exhibitions include a solo show Emma Bennett; New Paintings Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art London 2002 and further shows Emma Bennett, Marion Coutts, Anna Lucas Front London 2004, Emma Bennett & Dominic Shepherd ‘Between Dog & Wolf’ Clapham Art Gallery London 2005 and Nova Art Fair City Suites Hotel Chicago 2006.