Paul Benney occupies an unusual position in the art world. On the one hand, he has painted an impressive array of penetrating portraits of the great and the good, from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Mick Jagger, to James D. Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank Group and, currently under way, Balthazar Getty.
On the other hand, and in stark contrast, are his widely exhibited, dark, highly personal and symbolic paintings that explore the shadowlands of the soul, examples of which were acquired in the 1980s by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The art critic Adrian Dannatt refers to him as ‘‘a downtown New York artist from the 1980s, part of a transgressive avant-garde of ultra-bohemians fuelled by the poverty and violence, drugs, drink and erotic daring of the roughest parts of Manhattan, and a highly respected and successful ‘society’ portrait painter.”
SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 20th Century Wing, New York.
Brooklyn Museum, New York.
Museum of Modern Art, Catanzaro, Italy.
National Gallery, Canberra, Australia.
AIG Houston, USA.
Rothschild Foundation, UK
Eli Broad Foundation, USA.
SELECTED SOLO AND GROUP EXHIBITIONS
QUEENS GALLERY, BUCKINGHAM PALACE.. London, ‘The Last of the Tide’. 2015.
9 HILLGATE ST, London. ‘Invited’. Curated by Philly Adams and Flora Fairbairn. 2015.
GRAND PALAIS, Paris. ‘Art Paris 2015’. Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea. 2015.
FRIEZE ART FAIR. London, ‘Rainbow Trust Charity Auction.’ October 2014.
MIMMO SCOGNAMIGLIO ARTECONTEMPORANEA. Milan. ‘Metaphysical’. 2014.
LEICESTER CATHEDRAL. Leicester, UK. ‘Speaking in Tongues’. May 2014.
SHOREDITCH TOWN HALL, London. ‘Out of our Heads’. June 2014.
ENGLAND & CO, London. ‘Ritual’. 2013.
SOMERSET HOUSE. London. ‘Night Paintings’. Curated by Flora Fairbairn. 2012.
VIKTOR WYND FINE ART INC. London, ‘The Bones of my Hand’,2012.
CHRISTIES. London. ‘Baby 2000’. Curated by Kay Saatchi. 2000
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY. London. ‘State Portrait for Israel:’ 1995.
P.P.O.W. GALLERY N.Y. New York, 1989.
BIRCH & CONRAN FINE ARTS. London, 1988.