Ben Waters ‘A Place to Breathe’ (6-15 May)

Ben Waters is an artist based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Ben spent 2017 and 2018 living on Lord Howe Island where he reinvigorated his love of painting and developed a deep interest in depicting the natural landscape as a source of inspiration, wonder and rejuvenation.

His paintings aim to show both the natural beauty of the landscape but also, to evoke our own emotional and personal response to it. His imagery is derived from observation, combining multiple views, memory and imagination. Since returning to Avalon his work has focused on Barrenjoey Headland and its Pittwater surrounds.

This series of paintings by Ben Waters explores the physical, geographical side of Pittwater, along with the deep restful and regenerative qualities of this landscape. As such, no view exists as simply a literal depiction of what is seen by the artist. Rather, the work exists through two lenses. The first lens is Nature as a healer.

We as busy humans seem to be really good at making our lives cluttered and complicated but Nature seems to do the opposite. Spend enough time in Nature and the clutter and complexity disappear altogether. It simplifies our life and removes the human experience from the centre of it. We often return from our time in Nature as far better people than before we arrived. The second lens is the power of memory to build on our relationship with Nature.

All my artworks contain, to some degree, memories of this area, from my younger years to the present, and the joys that come from those memories. These joys inspire me to return again and again to these spaces, to have new experiences and to build on those memories.

Each of these paintings invites the viewer to slow down, take a break from their day-to-day human centred lives and see Pittwater as a ‘Place to Breathe’.

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