Sunday, 29 November 2015

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60 years of artist's work to go on show at Cumbrian gallery

More than 60 years of work by an internationally renowned Cumbrian artist will go on display at a Cockermouth gallery.

Gallery photo
Christine Swallow with two of the paintings by June Bennett

Paintings by June Bennett which date back to the 1950s – as well as the last work she finished before her death last year – will form part of the exhibition at Castlegate House Gallery.

June was a painter and a creator of jewellery, rarely seen without her trademark pink lipstick and easily recognisable for many years by her mobile studio – a bright orange VW camper van.

Born in Grange-over-Sands in 1935 she married fellow artist and Cumbrian Mike Bennett, and they lived in Yorkshire with their two sons Justin and Giles, who are now also professional artists.

It was there that June began to develop her skills in jewellery, working with silver and gold, and she continued her newfound art when the family returned to Cumbria, settling in Seascale.

But her passion for paint returned and she transformed the references to the natural world and landscape that she had used in her jewellery into new works on canvas.

Her husband Mike said: “It was as if the floodgates had suddenly burst open and paintings flowed out of her in a frenzy of activity.”

Steve Swallow, owner of Castlegate House Gallery, said: “June and Mike Bennett have been represented by this gallery for more than 25 years.

“Many art lovers will have seen the 60-year retrospective we held for Mike last year and it’s a great shame that June couldn’t have been here herself, wearing that bright pink lipstick, to see so many of her paintings on show together.

“This exhibition of her bold, richly textured and colourful works is a celebration of her vision of the world. People who own her work often say that her works lighten their lives, giving off a warmth and power that can change their mood.”

June particularly loved the sea, the estuary and its surrounding landscape. Her final work, completed three weeks before she died, looks across the Solway and will be exhibited as ‘June’s Trees; Last Painting’.

June Bennett 1935 - 2013 takes place at Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth, from Saturday July 19 to Saturday August 9.


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