Likeness? No. Semblance.

Dawson Alumni James Bentley showcases his new pieces at the Warren G. Flowers Gallery

By Brian Lapuz

There is nothing abstract about the works in the on-going exhibit at the Warren G. Flower gallery in the 2G wing.

Running until Oct. 16, the exhibit lays bare some dreary pieces of art. What you will see upon your entrance are faces placed behind a window, or lense, that is James Bentleys expressive touch.

For Semblance, Bentley invited friends and acquaintances to his studio as his subjects. With an acrylic base and crushed pastel molded into blocks, Bentley doesn’t attempt to make an acurate representation of the person as much as he tries to transfer his feelings into his work.

Why the Warren G. Flowers Gallery?

James Bentley: It’s a great privilege for me to exhibit in the Warren G. Flowers Gallery. When I was a student at Dawson the faculty would bring in accomplished artists from time to time, which was a tremendous help to me.  I hope my work will do the same for other students. The gallery is warm and intimate and is well suited to my work.

How do you feel as an artist today?

Bentley: I feel that as an artist I am always in the process of learning. I am in the trenches.  I feel that I am in a good closer to an understanding of myself.

Could you describe your feelings toward Semblance?

Bentley: It’s like sculpting with paint. I’m not trying to be precise with the paintings. It comes together in the end. I’m not concerned with the likeness of the subject. It’s more like working by instinct.

Expressing yourself through Semblance, how is it different compared to your past works?

Bentley: Making art seems to be an ongoing evolving process.  I think my current work is more direct and clearer compared to my earlier pieces. This is the first show I have had with this work. I take inspiration from artists like Giacometti, Auerbach and Lucian Freud and that is reflected in the brushwork and materials that I use. However, I trust that the final product is all my own.

Plans for the future?

Bentley: To stay curious and keep going forward as long as I can.


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