Shards by Benny Watson opening - Shoreditch Modern

On 21st March, Shoreditch Modern had the pleasure of hosting a Q&A with artist Benny Watson to mark the opening of his solo exhibition SHARDS, a series of striking abstract paintings on canvas and paper.

The artworks presented by Shoreditch Modern are centred around the grieving process Benny Watson underwent following the loss of his father and grandmother in the space of one year. The title of the exhibition reflects the impression of feeling broken in sharp pieces when a loved one passes away. Like a mirror that shatters and reflects one’s different facets, the artwork captures various aspects of the artist’s emotional journey.

The show also explores the tenuous balancing act he experienced between dealing with his emotions and other people’s expectations – perhaps best illustrated in his impressive pieces Juggler and Spinning Plates.

Various contrasting feelings and stages of grief are embodied in his highly-textured works by abstracted figures, symbols, and characters – which he refers to as alter egos. Opposing themes are common in Watson’s work and something he strives for:

“As long as there’s some conflict going on in the painting – it might be a losing battle or one-sided in some more than others – but there has to be some kind of conflict in the image. Light versus dark. Funny versus tragic. Protagonist versus antagonist. That’s where the drama is.”


Q&A with artist Benny Watson at the Shoreditch Modern gallery
Opening of Benny Watson solo exhibition at Shoreditch Modern
Opening of Benny Watson solo exhibition at Shoreditch Modern
person looking at Benny Watson's paintings at Shoreditch Modern

Anaïs Masetti, Curator at Shoreditch Modern, stated: “Benny Watson is definitely an emerging artist to watch and we are delighted to be presenting his first solo exhibition. The boldness of the colours, expressive strokes and scale of his impactful work recalls the greats of abstract expressionism, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Willem de Kooning. Watson’s layering of textures, figures and meanings then draws viewers in, creating a deeply moving experience both up close and from afar.”

This exhibition is free and open to the public until 7th April 2024. The gallery’s opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm. All artworks on display are available for sale. For any sales enquiries, please contact:

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