Monday 25 February 2019

Bryan Benge - Love Tokens and Bad Pennies

Bryan Benge - #unsettledgallery in Walthamstow
Does love endure forever? Does a bad penny always turn up? During this Valentine month the artists and writers from CollectConnect explore this flip-sided theme with an exhibition of 32 miniature sculptures. These objects are placed in public places (#unsettledgallery), helping us to remember those who we hold dear - or cast off those who we would rather forget. Every day throughout February we will be featuring one of these tokens/pennies on this website. A writer will also use the art as inspiration to create something new and fresh.

Art - Bryan Benge / Words -  Natalie Low

If my heart was a badge, I’d pin it on my sleeve.
Not just through my sleeve, but through my arm-skin too.
Yap! It would hurt. And bleed too probably.
But that would be alright cos I’m doing it for YOU.

If my heart was a trolley token, I'd get out a double-size one,
And we'd never give that baby back.
Checkitout! I'd fill it up to the brim
With forever groceries and stuff for YOU

If my heart was a coin, I’d push it right in your slot,
And choose the best chocolate bar in the machine.
Ker-lunk! I’d reach right up inside if I had to,
And then I would unwrap it and give it to YOU.

If my heart was a button, I’d fasten it up tight,
(there”d be more than one) all the way up to your chin.
Uhuh-uhuh! But I'd undo the top one to let you breathe,
That's the kind of thing I do for YOU.

You don’t ask me to do these things.
I do them in SPITE of you not asking me to
And that’s love!

Bryan Benge
Bryan's Love Token rests gently on a wooden bench in Walthamstow. Perhaps it has slipped out of a pocket or a child has dropped it, has love been lost forever. Or are we looking at it the wrong way round, perhaps someone is going to be lucky enough to find love today. Waltham Forest is currently the London Borough of Culture and many parts of the Borough are undergoing extensive change with rapid housing development and large scale gentrification. 

Bryan Benge is a practising artist, currently exploring digital media in his Fine Art practice.
He has always been an exhibiting artist. In 1992 he became a Member of The London Group.
Bryan's first involvement with CollectConnect was at the Open Fridge Gallery 89 in March 2010. Since then he has enjoyed working alongside his colleagues Alban, Dean and Stuart.
The philosophy of CollectConnect sits alongside his belief that creativity and all its outcomes need to be encouraged and supported for all ages and backgrounds, that is without sanctions of selection or application of a personalised aesthetic.  To enable artists opportunities to exhibit their work, free from barriers and gatekeepers.
From all the CollectConnect collaborations the one that stands out most for Bryan was CollectConnect’s collaboration with the Foundation students at the University for the Creative Arts, Surrey (UCA). Bryan worked for 15 Years as a Senior Lecturer/Course Leader where he managed the Foundation course at UCA.
During 2013 the students produced artworks  which were reproduced in the Future Bound book. This gave these young students exposure for their artwork for the first time outside academia. To this day some of the students are in contact with his colleague Alban encouraged by that collective experience.

Natalie Low enjoys putting words on paper and believes that everyone has a book of some sort inside them. She has published two chapbooks, Dementia (2015) and School Run (2017). She also appears in this exhibition as an artist/maker.

Don't forget to submit to our next exhibition. The Art of Caring is accepting submission until the 7th

No comments:

Post a Comment