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Ben Dearnley

Wales, United Kingdom

I was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire in 1964 and spent much of my life surrounded by music and monumental art. My late father, Dr Christopher Dearnley, was first, organist at Salisbury cathedral and then of St Paul's Cathedral, London, 1968 1989. From an early age I have been witness to a majesty of music and sculpture of the highest order. This has been a major underlying influence for my work as a sculptor. Together with over twenty-five years working closely with some of the world's top saxophonists as an instrument technician. For as the intuitive expression of jazz leads one on a journey, expressed through the instrument, so too will the action of the direct carving of stone.

I also have a deep love for the Masters of the past, Rodin, Michelangelo and Canova, to name but a few and each of these sculptors has one thing in common - they are all involved with the figure and its expressive nature, truth and beauty.

My work is focused on the figure and the narrative I wish to create fuses the traditional materials of the past with the modern world. The way I approach this is to draw the viewer into a personal dialogue with the sculpture by presenting them with a seductive surface of the fragmented figure. This is where the past is reflected by the choice of material and its particular fragmentation. The position of the sculpture reflects an inner truth, which I am developing within the hidden spaces of the form. The choice to fragment the figure is a conscious one which has a reflective nature for me as I believe we are all fragments of a whole. My latest works are pushing my understanding of material and the ability to reach new forms of expression.

This stage of my work is taking me ever more towards of the classical Greek forms found over 2000 years ago. My study trips to Italy in 2007 have proved invaluable to me and I am indebted to Marco Giannoni and his team, ( Niccola, Fabio, Francesco and of course the amazing Mori ) for their Kindness and patience: Also to Nigel Konstam at the Verrocchio Arts Centre, for his teachings whilst working there in the spring time. ( See the Italian Diaries )

I am now fully engaged in the direct carving of stone, along with the study of marble, looking at ways of exploring a return to the pure forms of the past with a modern contextualization, creating a vibrant expression of truth through beauty.

My Avenue of Champions series, with some of our finest Olympic and Paralympics athletes has been a huge inspiration for me with the strength and determination they show in each of their disciplines having a rub off effect on myself. For when the work of carving by hand gets too much and it all feels like it is going nowhere, I only have to reflect on their incredible achievements to find the next level of personal strength to keep going.

This time in my life celebrates a homecoming for me. For in 1997 I began my studies carving stone with a master of the past, Mr. Les Sandham. This inspirational master showed me the truth of material and gave light to my own practice which began with the first strike of the hammer.

Cicero said, "Each thing contains within itself the germ of its own future".

But it is only when we fully recognize the particular germ which is uniquely our own that we can fully nurture it. I know I am in my place and feel blessed to be able to work as I do and every day I give thanks for it being so. I hope you enjoy looking at some of my sculpture.

I am married to the wonderful artist Lynn Parr and we live and work together on the wild west coast of Wales.
Wescover creator since 2020

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