Ebene News – AU – Prominent Australian artist found dead at 50

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Award-winning artist Jason Benjamin was found dead after going missing in the southwestern New South Wales town of Carrathool over the weekend

Police found the body of the 50-year-old man in the Murrumbidgee River after a search of the area on Tuesday

M Benjamin has had his work exhibited at the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Parliament House Collection and in over 40 solo exhibitions around the world

He has been a finalist for the Archibald Prize on several occasions and won the Wrapping Room Prize in 2005 for his painting of the late actor Bill Hunter

But the artist’s bread and butter were evocative pieces of the Australian landscape, ranging from Alice Springs to Broken Hill

The Sydney Gallery Nanda Hobbs represented M Benjamin and director Ralph Hobbs said it was a tragedy that his life and work had been cut short

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“I like to call them romantic landscapes; they always told stories about things close to him,” said M Hobbs

“He felt life very intensely, so it wasn’t just about painting trees and skies, it was a layered story of loss of love, romance throughout these works,” he declared

“When he was in a landscape he didn’t just create images of it, he really felt what it was like to be in that place”

M Benjamin, was reported missing on Monday afternoon He was last seen in Carrathool, NSW at 8 p.m. on February 13 and was staying at a nearby campsite

M Hobbs said he had traveled across western New South Wales for an upcoming exhibit

“He was really excited by that, by the poems he was working on too, they were going to be attached to these paintings”

Born in Melbourne in 1971, M Benjamin spent his childhood in the USA and Mexico, before moving to Sydney for high school

At 16, he received a scholarship to study art at Stony Brook School and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, presenting his first group show in downtown Manhattan in 1989 He returned to Australia in the 1990s

M Benjamin won the Mosman Art Awards in 1993, 1994 and 1996 and painted portraits of musicians Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers in the Archibald Prize entries

Tim Olsen, director of the Olsen Galleries and son of famous artist John Olsen, was one of the first to exhibit M Benjamin, and they were close friends for years

“It was the sadness and melancholy of his job that ran parallel to his own life,” he said

“He was distracted by the promise of big bucks and got a bit lost, but that’s what happens with young talent

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Jason Benjamin

Ebene News – UA – Prominent Australian artist found dead at 50

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-18/prominent-artist-jason-benjamin-found-dead-in-murrumbidgee-river/13167074