Collection: Emma Bennett

Born in 1972, Guisborough North Yorkshire, Emma Bennett graduated from Mima School of Art and Design in 2019 with a MA (Distinction) in Fine Art. Selected exhibitions and prizes include Sonia Boyce: In the Castle of My Skin, Mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art); Above Ground (solo), Gallagher and Turner; Baltic Open 2020; ING Discerning Eye 2020; Traces of Reality, PS Mirabel; Major Conversations: The Industrial Narrative, The Turnpike; Manchester Contemporary; High Rise (solo), South Square, Bradford and Altered Space (solo), Platform A Gallery. Emma won a Runner-Up Prize in the KPP Prize for Art, Architecture and Design. Her work was acquired for the Mima Collection in 2020 and she has recently produced two works for a Public Art Project in Middlesbrough.

Emma is based in Middlesbrough in North East England. She produces paintings, drawings and site-specific wall paintings. By using colour and pattern in conjunction with her personal connections and memories to Modernist and Post-War Architecture, she examines our localised social histories.

Many of her paintings reference a nostalgic attachment to places and structures that are often overlooked, neglected or under threat of demolition. While growing up on a post-war council estate in the northern town of Redcar, Emma developed an attraction to the materials and surroundings of her environment. Many of the modernist and post-war buildings from her childhood have since been demolished and others are in the process of vanishing. Her work declares the architectural beauty and social importance of these places, buildings that are part of our collective memory.

The Department Store series of paintings made between 2020-21, respond to the exterior architecture of the 1950s House of Fraser Department Store in Middlesbrough that was formerly known as Binns. The painting series reflects the artist’s nostalgic connection to a place and questions the future of these once monumental buildings.

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