Martin Benson is a visual artist, podcast host, art educator, and explorer of consciousness. Through his artistic practice, he explores ways to express questions about deeper levels of reality. Inspired by sacred geometry and esoteric symbolism, his paintings embody his own contemplative practices and the experiences within them. Reconciling the tension between the earthly and the transcendent, his pieces act as visual koans for both the artist and the viewer.
Martin is also the host of the Podcast “Concerning The Spiritual In Art” where he dialogues with other artists from across the globe around topics related to spirituality, consciousness, and the creative process. Benson received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and his BA at the University of Southern California. Martin also is a yoga and meditation teacher at Wild Lotus Yoga in New Orleans.
Martin has exhibited in shows all over the United States. He has had his work exhibited at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center (LA), the New Orleans Museum of Art, amongst others. Benson’s works are in many private collections as well as in the permanent collections of the New Orleans Hillel Center, New Orleans Children’s Hospital, New York Presbyterian, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the University Medical Center, New Orleans.
In a world filled with crisis— crisis within our society, the environment, and politics— we are in the midst of an existential moment as a humanity. I see many inspiring artists taking these issues head on in truly meaningful ways. I want to take these issues on as well, however, from an inside out approach. I am curious about the source of the issues and wonder if they may stem from a disconnect with our interrelatedness as a planetary ecosystem. I find that turning my consciousness inward, through practices like meditation, uncovers a universal fabric of interconnectedness. I think about the dynamic of both the relative and absolute dimensions of life. If there is an absolute, I am on a search to uncover it through the mystery of the creative process and the universal potential of abstraction.
My work embodies my experiences exploring the terrain of these inner landscapes. I use math, pattern, geometry, and color as a way to express what I am feeling and learning. When I think deeply about my experiences with self-inquiry, I get the feeling we are all just like a rainbow: beautiful, present, and yet a figment within a universal mind. This is why the rainbow spectrum is a repeated symbol in my latest body of paintings. I use the rainbow as a way to point to a transcendent and unifying principle, while at the same time seeking to ground the paintings in something familiar and earthly. This is where the horizon lines and atmospheric elements come into play. My sculptural installation practice is about creating novel experiences that evoke meditative states. Whereas my drawing and printmaking practice are about explorations of these geometric patterns and forms that eventually inform larger paintings and projects.
My art is a longing for a future where we can bridge heaven and earth. It depicts a space of hope and love and a deeply personal expression of the energy I feel in my heart. This kind of personal, spiritual work has a rich history in the western art canon, and has recently been given more context with the emergence of artists like Hilma Af Klint, Agnes Pelton, Emil Bisttram, Anne Cassel, Emma Kunz, and others coming into the spotlight. I also think of work from artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Ida Kohlmeyer. This spiritual approach to art also has a rich history in indigenous art and artistic practices outside of the west. This is something I am deeply interested in and want to continue to explore further.
As I continue to pursue my work and dive inward, I hope that the art manifested from these explorations plays a role in instilling wonder and mystery. I hope the art connects people back inward in a way that deepens their connection to the whole of life. It is from that deep personal connection that we may find a path forward and finally come together here on this planet.