Ben Sheers is an Australian artist based in Melbourne. Sheers earned a BA in Fine Art (Major in Painting) from Monash University in 1998, completing his honours year at the same institution the following year. Sheers has also completed a Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne, cementing him as a highly-skilled, classically-trained artist.
Sheers predominantly works with oil paints, striving to add a poetic touch to suburban and industrial landscapes. His influences range from contemporary cinema to Italian metaphysical painting.
In recent times, Sheers has drawn inspiration from small cut paper collages. This inspiration struck when Sheers was teaching his two young sons to use scissors. During this simple activity, Sheers came to enjoy the act of mark making and cutting and pasting.
The work Sheers created as a result of this experience explores various shapes, forms, materials and processes. Utilising both photography and screen printing, Sheers retains an innocent sense of magic. Sheers masterfully employs scale to highlight the physical relationship between the viewer and the piece of art. The end result is shapes that are both precise and poetic.
Sheers also works on sculptures, further playing with the notion of form and shape. Through this medium, Sheers creates a dialogue between negative and positive space in a three dimensional setting. He also maximises his utilisation of the inherent qualities found in the materials he uses, such as their texture. Sheers’ practice is process driven, and beautifully embodies the abstract contemporary practice.
As a father, Sheers also finds night time to be the most tranquil time for him to paint. This has led him to be interested in the transformative effect of night time on landscapes, and the interplay between darkness and artificial light. Sheers notes that night time creates an almost parallel universe to ours, with sources of artificial light dictating what objects or places are worthy of our attention. This has also expanded the subject of his paintings, with Sheers depicting cars, figures and still-life in his recent works. Depending on the viewer’s own perspective of night time, Sheers’ pieces can feel foreboding and ominous, or serene and beautiful.
Sheers has been a finalist in several art competitions including the Metro 5 Gallery Art Prize in 2007 and the Agendo Art Prize at Deakin University in 2009. Sheers has also won the People’s Choice Award at Metro Gallery Art Awards in 2010 for a painting entitled Sleeper.
His pieces are included in many public collections including the Monash University Drawing Department, the ING, Metro Gallery and Mentone Grammar School, as well as private collections in Melbourne, Sydney and London.