Capturing the "tangible feeling of the motion" of oil paints is reason enough to paint for Harry Bennett and Tom Bennett. The artists, father and son, show work in the exhibit "East to West" at RiverSea Gallery on display Saturday, Sept. 6 through Oct. 8.

An opening reception is from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

Harry Bennett's oil painting style involves long curving brush strokes. Human figures emerge from waves of thick pigment. Cool blues and blacks are accented by splashes of bright whites and primary colors.

Wildly distorted figures dominate Harry's oil paintings. Faces, fingers, and entire bodies are elongated, twisted, and knotted to form the figures on the canvas.

"I don't distort people - I distort the painting," Bennett said.

Tom Bennett, Harry's son, uses contrasting sweeps of saturated color in his paintings and monotypes. Tom believes he has been drawing since infancy, with his talents encouraged by his artist parents. He finds painting, or any creating of art, "an exhilarating, intoxicating adventure." At the same time, he enjoys the physical aspects of painting, including "manipulating the paint on the surface."

Being on the Oregon coast is important to Harry, who said that the people here are at least as important to his art as the scenery or light. A fixture in the region's art scene since moving to the North Coast in 1986, Bennett moved to Astoria in 1989. He has exhibited in solo and group shows in Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania and throughout New England. His work has won numerous awards and is in private collections across the country.

Tom Bennett lives in Brooklyn, New York and visits Astoria frequently. His only previous exhibition on the North Coast was in Astoria in 1995. The recipient of many awards, he has been exhibiting in solo and group shows for more than 20 years on the east coast and in Spain, California, and Oregon. He is represented in public and private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.

RiverSea Gallery, 1160 Commercial St., is open 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The gallery features contemporary North Coast and Northwest artists, with original fine art and fine craft in all media and distinctive designer jewelry. For more information, call the gallery at (503) 325-1270.


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