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Artwork Description

Acrylic on canvas, stretched and ready to hang.

Signed on the back.

I’ve been painting these ‘Unpopular Penguins’ for four years now (this is number 379), having a good deal of success with them in galleries and shows. The starting point is the original design of the ‘Penguin classics’ books, transformed and distorted by multiple layers of paint, expressive brushwork, drips and spatters.

With this particular painting I wanted to push the image further, inspired by the early abstracts of Brett Whiteley, where he took imagery (such as a landscape or a nude) and distorted it almost beyond recognition, breaking it down into areas of colour, half-obscured lines, and a sense of overworking and layering. Such paintings have an energy, a sense of struggle and experimentation and finally resolution. When I began the painting, I did not know exactly where it was going. Areas were painted over, sometimes multiple times. Chance sometimes played a factor - random lines and splatters of thrown paint became edges of forms. I enjoyed the process of painting it and hope to produce further abstracts like it in the future. They’re an attempt to express the essence of something in a new way.

The paintings in this series are held in collections around the world, and have been in various art prizes and prominent Australian galleries. Edmund Capon, former director of the Art Gallery of NSW, said of the first painting in this series, ‘an evocative imagining of the familiar Penguin was a painting we all liked very much for its rich texture, its sense of memory and its sort of nostalgic humour’

This painting is on stretched canvas, with painted sides, and it is ready to hand without needing framing. It is sealed beneath a gloss varnish. Note that I am happy to take commissions, of any book you choose, in a range of colours and sizes.

For lovers of art, books, and classic design

Contact Ben


acrylic on canvas

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Stretched and ready to hang

This artwork is currently stretched and ready to hang.

Tags#orange, #white, #black, #cream, #text, #words, #book, #books, #penguin, #penguin books, #classic, #design, #retro, #vintage, #ben tankard, #abstract

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