Susan Benson RCA, was born in Kent, England. Her father wrote scripts for many well known comedians, wrote short stories which were produced by the BBC, was a fight director and jewellery designer amongst many accomplishments. Her mother ran a theatre school, had talks produced by BBC radio, was a voice coach and theatre director, had ten novels published, painted icons and cultivated an amateur interest in Quantum Physics.
Susan was encouraged from an early age to pursue her love of drawing and painting and theatre. She trained as a painter in the UK before the family emigrated to Canada in 1966.
Over the years her work as a painter has been interwoven with design for the theatre, ballet and opera. As designer she worked with distinguished directors and companies in some of the world’s great houses. Her costume- and set-designs are instantly recognizable for authenticity, imagination, craftsmanship and an artist’s attention to subtlety of line and colour. Her work has been repeatedly recognized in awards and in inclusion in public collections.
Portraiture has been prominent in her painting, but the influence of the natural world, especially the scenery of the West Coast of Canada is revealed in her landscapes and in her representations—sometimes approaching abstraction—of natural forms.
Susan’s time spent in the Leighton Colony at the Banff Centre has had a profound effect on her work as a painter. The original time spent in the Colony was part of a Banff Centre Award for Contributions to the Arts in Canada. Since then she has been able to spend further time in the Colony developing her painting.
The artist has exhibited widely and won numerous awards for her painting and work in theatre. Her work can be found in public collections including the Portrait Gallery of Canada, the Stratford Shakespeare Theatre, the National Arts Centre and the Bronfman Collection at the Museum of Civilization.
editors note: while Susan in a renowned theatre set and costume designer, the images here are of her fine art. please follow the links to learn more about her work in theatre. it is fascinating.
where to see or read more
shows: Susan is currently showing at the Duthie Gallery on Salt Spring. You can also contact the artist for a studio visit.
web: Have a look at Susans' website to learn more about this fascinating and diverse artist.
There is an excellent article about Susan and her work on the Kickass Canadians website.
Arts Alive has a feature article about Susan's costume design.
For a very good general bio, read her bio on the Canadian Encyclopedia website.
press: Susan and her work has been featured in numerous articles in print during her career as well as art exhibition catalogues.
documents: documents shared by the artist for further reading
contact the artist