"Too often, especially with younger painters, there is a tendency to focus only on the most recent work without a thought for what has gone before. It is refreshing then to be invited to look at a group of pictures which go back a little further, and it is encouraging to see a continuity and consistency of purpose going down the years.
The strength of Ben’s best pictures lies less in the way that they are painted, although his ability is clear enough, than in his observation; in the intensity of his gaze fixed, directly, on the subject before him. It is a quality true of his portraits as it is of his
The Infinity of Desire (extract)
“The journey of the senses, from the artist’s head and heart to the tips of his fingers, that ends up as two dimensional form on canvas, is an extraordinary and inexplicable one. There are always more questions than answers. If art history is a good guide, then it tells us that the most modest subject matter can also be the most engaging. Ben Henriques
“Thank you for letting me see the pictures for your next show. I’m pleased that you have returned to landscape, and to Tiree, since I so admired the work you did there for your first show.
I think landscape suits you best because it enables you to display an emotional range not often apparent, perhaps not even appropriate, in your other work. But how much range is there in solitude – for these
In conversation with Julian Halsby (extract)
“Ben Henriques belongs to a new generation of British artists who are exploring landscape, still life and portraiture with an unemotional and critical eye, attempting to paint what is really there rather than to give impressions or make generalisations about the visual world. Their work is uncompromising and challenging, but represents a new direction which is gaining momentum. Other artists working with a similar approach include Christopher Bramham, Antony Williams, Andrew Gadd, and the Chamberlain brothers....”
JULIAN HALSBY 2003
Drawn to the ‘sensuality of shape, colour and feel of the object.’
Henriques particularly enjoys the direct and spontaneous response required to capture flowers; ‘Everything is in a state of renewal or decomposition. Time and movement are important; they quicken the reaction.’
Painting allows him to create an autobiographical record of his visual experience. As he explains, ‘locked in the layers of paint, lies the history of this experience of seeing.’ He believes Cezanne sums this up perfectly; ‘A minute in the world passes! To paint it in its reality and forget everything for that! To become that minute, to be the sensitive plate...and give the image what we see, forgetting everything that has appeared before our time.'
landscapes and the recent series of still lives. All these paintings, in different degrees, are about light and colour and form but mostly they are about an artist looking – slowly, carefully, thoughtfully. His work, in its turn, deserves no less from us.”
understands this and uses his studio, which also leads into his house, as the backdrop for his deceptively simple still lifes, portraits and interiors..”
SIMON GRANT (Foreword to Paintings – Drawings 1997-2001)
paintings are all about solitude are they not? There is no human presence in any of them except you the artist’s steadfast, penetrating gaze, commanding I must say an impressively high return from indifferent Nature. This is surely because the intense precision with which you invest a small still life is also bought to bear on these larger, ambitious land – and seascapes, every stroke and scrape carefully calculated even in the thicker impasto you are attempting now..”
JOHN COX (opera director)
A transcript of a handwritten letter to the painter