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 Benjamin McPherson  (21st century)

About: Benjamin McPherson


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Lived/Active: Utah/New Mexico      Known for: classical real religious theme painting-illumination

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BIOGRAPHY for Benjamin McPherson
Utah/New Mexico

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classical real religious theme painting-illumination

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Raised in Farmington, New Mexico Benjamin McPherson is a painter in classical realist style of religious and historical themed paintings.  Many of his paintings express his Christian faith, and result from his early 20s when he was a Mormon missionary for two years in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Returning home, he settled in Orem, Utah, and worked as a genealogy specialist at the Mormon Church website,   In 1999, he moved to California where he worked in cinematic arts including screenplay writing, and also wrote and illustrated a children's book.   During that period, he met his future wife, Kristina, and continued his interest in painting including portraits.  In 2005, he submitted for exhibition his first religious painting, titled And it was Night, to The Springville Museum of Fine Art and won the Director's Choice Award.

That same year, he and his family spent three months in Italy, where he studied the Old Masters and made a commitment to his signature painting style and theme.   In his paintings, he chooses his models from homeless shelters, the "downtrodden of today as the disciples of yore." (Corriel)  Also he is especially focused on the intensity of facial expressions and chiaroscuro, the contrast of light and dark.

The last several years, he has combined his religious painting with his cinema talents.  His film work was featured at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.  In 2006, he was one of three artists awarded the Viewer's Choice Award for the Springville Museum of Art.  For the Showtime television production, "This American Life", he was featured by having his painting processes filmed.  In 2008, McPherson and three other artists opened the Bridge Academy, an art school in Provo, Utah.

Michele Corriel, "Illuminations", Western Art & Architecture, December, 2008, p. 62.




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