Reflections on Sacred Space
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council and ruler of Sharjah, the Cultural Affairs Department at the Sharjah Department of Culture has organised the 20th Edition of the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival.
‘Reflections on Sacred Space’ opened on December 13, 2017 at the Sharjah Art Museum and will run until January 23, 2018. The large scale paintings exhibited at the Sharjah Art Museum show Ben’s love for details, that are almost photorealistic. The artist explained that he works on his paintings from six months to several years. Each detail is carefully considered and meticulously executed.
Ben Johnson uses geometry as a way of transcending the material world and connecting with the spiritual. Through concentration, meditation and craftsmanship Johnson shares his search for a fundamental uniting truth. The Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain and The Dome of The Rock, Jerusalem are both profound examples of Islamic architecture. These two structures are united by more than their Islamic architecture and calligraphy that decorates the walls, they are united by the importance of the underlying rules of sacred geometry. This geometry has been perfected and respected by many Islamic artists and shared by diverse cultures and religions.
Ben Johnson was born in Llandudno, Wales, in 1946. He studied at the Royal College of Art and has lived and worked in London since 1965. He is best known for his paintings based on architectural spaces (some almost forensically accurate, others heavily manipulated) and his large-scale, intricately detailed cityscape paintings, which include panoramas of Hong Kong, Zürich, Jerusalem, Liverpool, London and most recently, Granada.
Over the past 46 years he has exhibited widely in galleries and museums across the world, including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; the Art Institute of Chicago; Kunsthalle Tübingen; and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid and Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, UAE. For the past two years his work has been exhibiting at the 19th and 20th Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival. His work is included in the permanent collections of museums worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Regional Services Museum, Hong Kong; and the Government Art Collection.
Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival 2017/18 opened on December 13, 2017 and will run until January 23, 2018. Many exhibitions and large scale installations are on view at the Sharjah Art Museum, and on other venues such as Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Majaz Amphitheatre, Awqaf Department, Al Qasba, Maraya Art Centre, and Calligraphy Square.