I don’t usually plan compositions in advance, however in this instance I based the painting on a sketch I made after reading about the Bloomsbury Group. I am an incurable romantic and wanted to capture the mood of curiosity, boldness and defiance that characterises (in my mind at least) the free-spirited lifestyle of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, although the seated figure is not a direct portrait of either one of them.
Initially trained in photography, Kerry Louise Bennett is a self-taught expressive painter with a passion for colour, texture and pattern. Her work is ‘wonky’, bold and theatrical. Underpinning this is the ongoing development of her unique visual language, with which she creates recognisable, but slightly abstracted or surreal worlds. Informed by a magpie attraction to fabrics, furniture, vessels and plants, as well as a longstanding love of fairy tales and magical realism, Bennett gives familiar shapes a strange musicality. Gesture, texture and hue are all employed to explore the magic of the things around us, and the way these things can weave powerful visual motifs into our personal narratives. Much of her subject matter falls within the ‘still life’ tradition, but her curiosity about her own (and other peoples) relationships with certain colours, objects and sentimental items, gives her art a joyful but off-kilter dimension not always associated with that genre.