Allen Bentley received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and his BFA from Western Carolina University in 1996. Bentley’s work has been exhibited across the country, with solo exhibitions in New York, Chicago, San Diego and Philadelphia. He has shown in the Philadelphia International Airport and in Artworks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2009, Bentley had his first solo museum show at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. He teaches Life Drawing and Intro Drawing at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD. When Bentley is not traveling the country working with professional to celebrity dancers, he lives in Montgomery Village, MD with his wife and children.
Allen Bentley says of his work: The pursuit of real interaction drives so much of our relationships. Whether under water or in dance, my work explores intimacy and connection through motion. Energy and passion, rhythm and play guide my figures through moments of reaching, spinning, holding. We chase one another in the hopes of finding a similar resonance, an affinity with another.
So much of my work revolves around motion. Figures, elements, events in flux. The rhythms of movement are extremely engaging for me.
Though I have spent the bulk of my painting career and training focusing on the figure I have repeatedly explored still-life, landscape, and abstraction as a form of play. The sense of play in making was ever present in the beginning. At some point along the way that playful spirit was replaced by work. Things became more serious. The demands of making an income and simply becoming more proficient in making the work made the act of making more serious.
To find the language of the new direction. I still paint my figures: dancers, pillow fighters, and couples under water but these abstract paintings provide a new arena to explore. I flip between thinking of them as waterscapes or as nonrepresentational paintings. It really doesn’t matter. The results are the same. Some start from a photo shoot where I’m diving repeatedly underwater shooting as I go, others start by making two dozen thumbnail drawings in my sketchbook, others simply begin with a mark on the canvas followed by the counter mark. The end result is that I get to explore the motion that I love in a new way and I get to play again.