Ben Jamie: Realm

1 - 30 September 2023


Castor is pleased to present Ben Jamie’s Realm, his forth solo exhibition with the gallery.
In this new series of paintings, Jamie explores the organic relationship between the human body and the natural world, inspired in part by a recent trip to the raw and unpredictable landscapes of Iceland. The paintings, much like the volcanic landscapes which inspired them, are simultaneously beautiful and unsettling, reflecting the duality of nature as both a nurturing and destructive force.
Jamie has long been preoccupied by the Hero’s Journey as a narrative arc, exploring the themes of transformation, chaos and redemption. The nine paintings on show continue this exploration, which is here considered through three distinct yet related expressions; landscape, figurative and the figure as landscape.
Within his work, recognisable figures are often pushed back into the composition, amongst a web of thickly rendered oil paint forms, set within charcoal. Figuration as abstraction, or abstraction as figuration.
But here we see the figures emerge from cover to take centre stage. Contorting forms seem in a state of tension, their flesh alludes to a hardened shell, armour or rock form. Much like the cliff faces which suggest strength and permanence, these figures' solid exteriors have the potential to shift or crack.
By considering the figure against the natural world, Jamie invites us to question the Hero's Journey as a suitable mechanism for exploring the planet's own transformation, where shifting tectonic plates and geological forces challenge, transform, destroy and rebuild.