Ben Risk

Artist Biography

Ben Risk's work draws upon a wealth of sources; philosophy, poetry, film, travel and daily encounters - translating the unconscious thought and imagination into paintings. His highly personal, reimagined ‘scapes’ always reference the real world.

Excerpt from Nigel Cooke for the recent show at the Jerwood Gallery

TELESCOPE: Benjamin Risk. Leonardo da Vinci famously advised aspiring young painters to look at stains on a wall; BenRisk’s magical, confounding paintings depend on this principle, weaving images between marks and stains that appear, in the early stages of painting, on the material he uses - linen, cotton bedsheets and paper. Absorbency is the operative word - images delicately hang between recognisability and collapse, between a presence and the stain of a presence. They also absorb light -surfaces are soft, colours soak in, the eye dives into the fabric of the cloth.And above all maybe, the meditative sense of the images and Risk’s attach mentto them suggest a slower kind of thinking, an absorption again - one of patience with the evolution of the image, a hospitality towards a form of strangeness that grows steadily as a conversation with the marks and stains. Real life connects with this more or less - we see people, plants, animals and landscapes- but they do not govern the scene. Instead they are warped by it, floating nebulously between shape, space and description. Ben’s painting is thoughtful in character, inviting warmth and contemplation through delicacy and care. They resist the speed of information exchange in the world around us, trading on a different plane of thought - one reflective and bizarre at times, like half-remembered dreams or stories. The theoretician and art historian Richard Wollheim called da Vinci’s faith in stained walls the act of ‘seeing in’ - the process of looking at an image and a surface as a twofold but single experience, like seeing forms in clouds. Ben capitalises on this foundation stone of representation in highly personal and lyrical ways, calling to mind artists like Craigie Aitchison, R.B Kitaj and Victor Willing - and of courseHenry Tonks, the Slade professor who gave his name to the process of absorbing away Oil paint with paper to create soft and diffuse areas of colour. Sensitive and at the same time very powerful works 

Selected Exhibitions 

Born Glasgow 1978

Studied – BA HonsContemporary Craft – Manchester Metropolitan University 1999 - 2002


Group show - Telescope at the Jerwood Gallery,Hastings. Curated by Nigel Cooke - Opens to the public 19th January 2019

Two Person show with Calum McClure at Tatha GalleryDundee - February 2019

Group Show - New Now Frankfurt, November 2019


Group show - Pavilions of Paint - Bath. Curated byNeil Fuller

Group show - John Martin Gallery - Summer Show

Group Show - Nightswimming at Mission GallerySwansea. Curated by LLE

Group Show - Cache at Luborimov Hughes, London

Group Show - Papercuts at the Saatchi Gallery


Group Show - Paul Cezanne Painted Mount SnowdonFrom This Spot. Curated by Gordon Dalton as part of the Llawn Festival at EmrysWilliams Studio Gallery, Llandudno. Sept 2017

Group Show - Welcome to the Human Experience, WeAre The Ones Doing Works on Canvas, curated by Galina Munroe at the Carlsberg& Byen Kunstsalon, Copenhagen. Sept 2017

London Art Fair with LLE Gallery as part of'Dialogues' curated by Miguel Amado. January 2017 


Meander, two person show with Eva Ullrich, GalleryTwenty Two, Bristol, November 17 - 8th December 2016

Papercuts - work on paper curated by Kristian Dayat Transmission Gallery, London. 2016

Sampler - Curated by Kristian Day at Arcade Gallery- Group Show 2016


Small works, Open Eye Gallery,Edinburgh - December 2015

ING Discerning Eye - Mall Galleries, 12th - 22ndNovember. Selected by Steve Pill

Gallery North, Glasgow Kelvin College - 2nd until13th of March, 2015. With kind support from Artstore Glasgow Proceeds fromexhibition will go to Impact Arts

Oust Ebola, Auction.13th of Feb, 2015.



Solo Show - Field Work - Open Eye Gallery,Edinburgh 1st - 25th, Nov

Group show with Thomas and Paul, October. Ben Risk,Christos Tsimaris and Lance Hewison. October

AAF Hamburg - 13-16 November 2014, Hamburg Messe