I do like share a bit of good news on this blog listeners. And this is certainly that.
Now if it were left to me I’d have a place in Swindon’s art collection for dozens of Swindon artists. But until that’s possible it’s great that, in addition to works by the fabulous Ken White, both Creative Wiltshire and Swindon Borough Council have acquired works by David Bent. Because they both absolutely deserve to be there. So hurrah!
Swindon Borough Council are delighted to announce their most recent acquisitions to the Collections via the Creative Wiltshire project
‘These new works include a stunning landscape painting and prints by local artist David Bent. The painting, Beach House West of Looe, from David’s Landscape Geometry series will go on display from 19 July until 18 November as part of ‘The Lie of the Land exhibition’, which explores Modern British Landscapes from the Swindon Collection. This exhibition will also feature artists such as Richard Long, Mary Fedden, Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell.
The Museum and Art Gallery has also obtained two prints from his innovative Aerobot photo collage collection which were first exhibited at the nearby Royal International Air Tattoo. David is credited as leading a new movement in modern aviation art.
This work has been purchased by the Creative Wiltshire project, which aims to acquire works by creative people across Swindon and Wiltshire.
The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and also recently secured a work by Swindon artist Ken White for the Swindon Collection as well as ceramics by Sasha Wardell, Trevor Chaplin and Patricia Volk, paintings by David Rolt, and prints by Howard Hodgkin and Joe Tilson.
Creative Wiltshire has also purchased David’s work (including books, a box set of Movement 2000 and prints) for the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre and said “We are delighted that Swindon has acquired these wonderful works by David Bent. David is a talented and popular artist who has such a strong connection with Swindon and the surrounding area. It has been a pleasure working with David to select the works for Swindon and for the History centre and we feel they provide a fitting tribute to David’s long career. We hope visitors will enjoy discovering his work in forthcoming exhibitions.”
David said: “I am proud to have my work represented in the prestigious Swindon collection, sitting alongside works created by a number of great artists that have inspired and influenced me. I am equally pleased that the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre have chosen to acquire a number of pieces.”
For further information please contact Nicki Western, Marketing Manager, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, 01793 466560 or email@example.com‘
David Bent David Bent lives and works in Swindon. His long career has taken him all over the world. Born in Dover, he has travelled extensively. His art shows the influences of the places he has visited, as well as his fascination with current affairs. In recent years he has been strongly associated with the Red Arrows, who have inspired a number of paintings within his Art of Flight series. David was recently awarded the rare distinction of Honorary Companionship of the Royal Aeronautical Society in tribute to his work. He is the first artist in 30 years to be awarded this.
Question: The Aerobots series is a departure for you. What was your inspiration?
David Bent: I am inspired and led to a certain extent by my general interest in science and technology, but nature and the human condition are also big influences on me. As a practicing artist, I always aim to infuse my work with the power of personal observation, skill and insights.
For me the relationship between Art, Science and Mathematics can be described as a drawn circle with a small gap at the end. Art is at one end of the open circle and science at the other. They are very close if you are prepared to jump the gap, if not you have to travel all the way around the circle and they become a long way apart. I like to jump the gap.’
Creative Wiltshire Creative Wiltshire is a five year project which started in 2015 and aims to acquire work by creative people from Swindon and Wiltshire to fill significant gaps in the collections across Wiltshire.
Wiltshire Local Studies, based at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in Chippenham, received £178,000 HLF Collecting Cultures grant towards the five year project totalling £213,550 and materials are being acquired by accredited museums in the county of Wiltshire and Borough of Swindon, including Swindon Museum and Art Gallery and the Salisbury Museum.
When I first started this blog I was familiar with the work of Ken White. As time went by, and due entirely to Katie Hopkins (it’s a long story which I’m prepared to dine out on. 😉 ) I came across David Bent.
Since then I’ve got to know Caroline Day, Susan Carr and Terry Humphries, the lovely people at Artiste and the Post Modern and Tim Carroll. Most of them have been represented on this blog with the exception of Tim Carroll. And that situation must be adressed soon.
This post though features David Bent. Because I wanted to mention that he’s exhibiting at London’s RAF Club during July and August 2017.
I must stress that this exhibition is hosted by the RAF club for their members. But don’t despair! Many of the pieces can be seen in Swindon – the Swindon Open Studios event is a perfect opportunity. Indeed a number of the originals can be seen at Open Studios – something that David has taken part in since 2002.
This painting was also included in the exhibition at the RAF Museum , London 2012 – 2013 that David and his lovely wife took 60 kids from Churchfields Academy too … & introduced them to the Red Arrows. Lucky them!
I am the mural man, I come from far away and I can paint – yes I can paint. What can you paint – I can paint murals!
‘It’s a small world’. A cliché? Yup. But true. And listeners it doesn’t get much truer than this!
In the early days of this blog I devised a list of things to celebrate about Swindon. And on that list I placed Ken White. A son of Swindon, Ken has made his mark on the world literally and figuratively with his artistic talent.
I’m fortunate in recent years to have got to know David, and his fabulous wife Carole, very well. And it was on a recent visit to David’s studio – Swindon Open Studios maybe? – anyway – that I learned that he too had been a mural painter back in the day.
In a wonderful bit of symmetry that life, the universe and everything (42) is full of it turns out there was a time when, unknown and unbeknownst to each other, they were painting murals in London with only a street or two between them. David was working as a youth worker specialising in art project work and Ken was working on one of his famous commissions for Richard Branson – he of the Virgin empire. As Carole herself said, it’s not impossible that they drank in the same pubs.
And now here they are, living in the same town, still painting. Though no muriels sadly. That said – if anyone is offering I’ve got a garden wall crying out…
The image below shows an article in a 1979 issue of The Telegraph featuring both David Bent and Ken White painting their murals in London at the same time. Like I said – it’s a small world. Albeit with big murals. And pots and pots of pots of paint.
Now before you start to wonder why I’m putting this on a Swindon-Centric blog there’s a good reason: David Bent – a Swindon resident for some 20 year or so now. Ergo – like me – a Born again Swindonian.
Well known, nay renowned, for his aviation art, David has produced an art work in celebration of a half-century partnership between RAF Marshal Aerospace & Defence and Lockheed Martin – the manufacturer of the Hercules C130.
Said David about his artwork: “I hope people are pleased and uplifted by this artwork, and that it is a positive reflection of all the hard work and ingenuity put into [the C-130] through 50 years of collaboration,” Bent said. “Pieces of art have their own lives and I hope this one has a long and happy one.”
David is a tremendously talented artist, somewhat under-celebrated in this town – and that’s my own personal opinion.
Though not by this particular blogger and certainly not by others beyond Swindon. As you’ll see if you read this extract from the above mentioned press release – though the entire thing is an interesting read.
Not only am I of the belief that David should be celebrated because of his artistic talent but because of his many contributions to the town’s artistic landscape. But the listeners would be another post entirely. So to the point of this one:
One Artist: Many Talents
It’s often said that the C-130 Hercules is one aircraft that supports many missions. That sentiment can also be applied to Bent, who is truly one artist with many talents.
Bent’s portfolio is wide ranging from “aerobots” to landscape geometry. He is creatively fluent across many different media and approaches, including painting, photography, graphic arts and printmaking.
David Bent’s Influences
His influences are also wide-ranging, including American pop artists like Andy Warhol and fellow Englishmen including Paul Nash and David Hockney. All regarded as leaders in their genres.
A glimpse into Bent’s significant collection of work reflects his many interests and influences, both in muses and mediums. Aerospace, however, remains a dominant and constant theme.
His interest in aviation is linked directly to his father, an aircraft enthusiast, expert aeromodeller and, in his early days, a junior technician supporting Sir Alan Cobham’s “Flying Circus” aviation displays that were part of the UK skies in the 1930s.
“He just knew every airplane that flew the skies,” Bent said. “By the time my brother and I were 5-years-old, we were taught to observe aircraft and we knew almost every aircraft that flew the skies.”
His brother retired as a RAF wing commander, while Bent himself went off to art college. But, his love of aviation was never lost.
“[Aviation] is partly an academic interest for me,” he said. “But, I genuinely love the whole industry and much about it. It’s cutting edge, forward looking, high tech. It’s a great subject that I’m very happy to promote to younger artists as a relevant subject.”
An Aviation Icon On An Aviation Icon
Bent is viewed as one of the world’s leading modern aviation artists and beloved by the UK aviation community.
His awards and recognitions are expansive, ranging from a year long solo exhibition at the Royal Air Force Museum, London, to being awarded “Honorary Companion of the Royal Aeronautical Society,” which is the organization’s highest distinction to those who have made a significant contribution to the aerospace profession. He’s been referred to the artist most “closely associated with the Red Arrows,” the RAF’s Aerobatic team. Bent is also closely connected to RIAT, through his exhibitions at the event and the commemorative prints created for UK events.
His works include almost every kind of aircraft to grace the skies. Stealth 5th Generation fighters. Vulcans. Tornados. Drones. Harriers. Spitfires. The Concorde. The Red Arrows. And the Hercules.
The C-130 has surfaced in several of Bent’s pieces and collections, starting with a piece entitled, “Spinning Hercules.”
“I was working on my first aviation collection when I took the straight on photograph of the Hercules,” he said. “By doubling it, it became a very striking image.”
The Hercules also features within Bent’s “Tribute” and “Transport Command” collections.
So, what has drawn him to immortalize the C-130 in his art? Is it the Herc’s rugged good looks? Purposeful design? Versatility? Or, the place that it holds in many hearts? All of those things, actually, according to the artist.
“The Hercules, of course, is an iconic aircraft,” Bent said. “In the case of the Hercules, form follows function. Like the Bauhaus mantra. Obviously aircraft have special purposes and the Hercules proves that it gets the job done. It’s got character, lots of variants and many different uses.”
While Bent has spent time inside a few Hercs to learn more about that aforementioned function and form, he’s also spent many days with it flying overhead. His home and studio are located between two RAF bases: RAF Brize Norton (where the RAF’s C-130 fleet is currently operated out of) and RAF Lynham (where the RAF’s C-130 was previously operated out of prior to its closing in 2012).
“[The Hercules] has been a dependable mainstay of the RAF transport command for many years,” Bent said. “It’s certainly well-loved in this country — and around the world.”
*Hon CRAeS is Honorary Companion of the Royal Aeronautical Society. David Bent is the first artist in 30 years to be awarded this title.
And I surely can’t be the only person in Swindon – a town with a charity like the Harbour Project, a town with City of Sanctuary status, that thinks these art works by David ought to be obtained for the museum and art gallery? I mean – it’s a no brainer surely?
5th November 2016 – Aviation Exhibition Takes Flight
Sky High: Exhibition of David Bent’s work at St George’s, Bristol
David Bent Exhibition St George’s – Situated in the crypt at St George’s is an exhibition of David Bent’s work. The building is described by a director of the British Museum as ‘a building which we think of as a twin sister’ – both were designed by the same architect, Sir Robert Smirke. Presumably he wasn’t having a laugh…
‘A fantastic exhibition of aviation inspired art opens at St George’s in Bristol in November, as part of the venue’s year-long ‘Art of Flight’ series.
Acclaimed artist David Bent Hon CRAeS has taken a life-long passion for flight and transferred it to canvas and to print , creating works of art that are thrilling, enthralling and utterly memorable.
Credited with leading a new movement in modern aviation art, David’s work is collected and supported around the world. Recent commissions include Universities and major aerospace companies. He has recently been made an ‘Honorary Companion’ by the Royal Aeronautical Society, its distinction reserved for those whose professional achievements are not exclusively in aerospace but who have made a substantial contribution to the profession. Awarded to David Bent in recognition of his exceptional contribution in transforming aviation art with iconic paintings , bringing aviation, technology and art together to a completely new audience.
David is also the artist most closely associated with the Red Arrows, depicting their creative and world leading displays with an impressive collection of paintings and photo collages. He has also created a bold series of work paying tribute to British aircraft manufacturers. His Bristol Tribute features within this new exhibition at St George’s.
Visitors to the venue, which is located on Great George Street (just off Park Street), will have the opportunity to see a collection of David’s artworks in the venue’s Doric Room before and during concerts throughout November and early December.
The ‘Art of Flight’ series, which began earlier this year, is a celebration of music inspired by flight and Bristol’s aviation story. A weekend of concerts and events forms something of a grand finale from 25-27 November, presented as part of the Bristol800 weekender programme.
New music commissions by composers Graham Fitkin (‘Wing’) and Liz Lane (‘Innovation 216’) receive their world premiere performances on Friday 25 and Sunday 27 November respectively.
Also on Sunday 27 November the venue will be open throughout the day for a ‘Family Flight Day’, featuring hands-on exhibits from At-Bristol, space food and the chance to create and test paper airplanes.
Visitors to the family day will also have the opportunity to ‘Meet the Artist’, as David will be in attendance from 1pm and happy to discuss his work and answer questions.’
David Bent – The Art of Flight, will be at St George’s from Wednesday 3 November until Monday 5 December.
David Bent, Russell-Cotes and a bender round Bournemouth
David Bent at Russell-Cotes. Well I say bender. It was more a sedate meander with Carole Bent around the wonderful Russell-Cotes museum, David’s exhibition there and beautiful Bournemouth on the best, brilliantly sunny and perfect day.
David is currently exhibiting at the Russell-Cotes museum so Carole kindly took me down there to visit as she had a meeting there. While she was busy doing important meeting stuff I was lucky enough to have a gander around this utter gem of a place. I’d never heard of it let alone been to it – and if you haven’t then you must! Preferably while David’s exhibition is still running because his art is wonderful and worth seeing always – but just generally too.
So now you get the pleasure of some of my characteristically out-of-focus photos – it’s my trademark okay?
And yes – I KNOW this blog is about Swindon not Bournemouth but David has lived here for eons now so he’s as much a Swindonian as I am. And he and Carole are involved in many Swindon things and this is his art and anyway – as I’ve said many times – there’s no point having a bloody blog if you can’t give a shout-out to friends. So here we are. 😉