Seattle born Bennion is a painter and sculptor who has shown his work across the United States, Canada, and Europe since 1968. He lives and works on Vashon Island, near Seattle, Washington. Following in the tradition of Northwest artists such as Mark Tobey, Paul Horiuchi, Morris Graves and William Ivey, all of whom shared an affinity for painting on paper as well as a deep reverence for eastern art, Bennion sees his frescoes as a “confluence of eastern and western techniques and traditions.” Like the frescoes of Pompeii, Bennion’s paintings convey a sense of history and tradition. A practicing Buddhist for much of his adult life, Bennion is concerned more with the moment of inner peace and meditation, than with the specific story each painting or sculpture tells. His hopes are that the viewer finds great inspiration, or simply a moment of insight, in the work.
Strongly encouraged by mentor William Ivey (1919-1992), Bennion spent years developing his unique painting process, which he calls fresco — using oil paint, dry pigment on plaster and paper which is attached to a panel or canvas. This process lends itself to many of his interests; textures that recall ancient walls and decaying structures are overlaid with markings and shapes of the mythology from many cultures, creating a surface that is both familiar and unknown. The work on plaster is painted and sanded, and painted over and over, sometimes 4 or 5 layers but often up to 10 or 12 until the work is complete.
Bennion is also a sculptor; crafting mostly large scale geometric welded steel pieces and numerous outdoor installations. His painting and sculptures share a meditative and often poetic quality, a quality that beautifully reflects Bennion’s own philosophy and approach to making art.