James Bentley - Ocean Series

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Ocean Series

This series is a visceral experience of the ocean. The artist features his twin sons’ uninhibited reactions to being in the water and the sun. Inspired by these memories and based on family snapshots, the work merges realism and memory with abstraction and nostalgia.


Born in 1968, James Bentley studied illustration & design at Dawson College in Montreal and then furthered his studies at the Illustration Academy in Liberty, Missouri, USA. He also took drawing classes at Saidie Bronfman Centre in Montreal. He began his career as a freelance illustrator; a practice which gave him a great love for drawing.

For James Bentley, It’s the possibilities in seeing that interests him. With each subject, he tries to paint as honestly as he can, to paint what he is looking at, to understand what seeing really is. Although the individual features of the face are important, it is a matter of trying to see what’s beneath the surface: to see the whole structure fitting together in space. Anchored in figuration, he now works mainly with acrylic on canvas and acrylic & pastel on paper.  Bentley's current body of work is focused on the ocean, portraits and figure studies. He is always on the search to paint in an inventive open manner.