Art Collector Ben Ellington Discusses the Work of Kent Knowles
Kent Knowles' Dark Animals was selected for the gallery during the period prior to our 5th anniversary and after our exhibitions at the Stryker Building in Downtown Williamsburg. Dark Animals is a standout work for Knowles because it is a moderatley sized painting depicting perhaps a middle aged figure rather than young girl or young woman. It is an early example of Knowles' experiments with acrylics rather than oils. I caught up with art collector Ben Ellington who explained his attraction to the piece and Knowles' works in general
John Lee Matney
J.L.M.: Thank you for agreeing to discuss the painting with me. Can you give us some insight into why you were interested in the painting?
B.E: I felt an instant connection to Dark Animals the moment I saw it. The work displays a common Knowles theme of pending danger offset by a sense of tranquility and strength in the central figure.
On the surface, it has a certain Colonial feel, which makes it appropriate for display in my Williamsburg home while still leaving the door open to a deeper study of the meaning of the work in the eyes of each individual viewer.
I often enjoy pondering the source of the apparent looming danger, and wonder if the figure is also unsure of what may be approaching. I share in the relative sense of protective calm that the animals seem to be giving her, and identify with the idea that each of us at some point finds ourselves being protected by our own dark animals, whatever they may be. I wonder if she is also giving them the same sense of calm, and whether the protective nature of their relationship is reciprocal, as it often is in life.
In the same way that our dreams are often manifestations of the important events happening around us, Dark Animals seems to bring to life our fears, strengths, and possibly even the importance of the many symbiotic relationships that occur in our world.
Ben Ellington, well known for his smile, is a Vice President and Regional Commercial Loan Officer with Chesapeake Bank, a 117- year-old community bank serving customers all along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. A career move brought him to Hampton Roads in 2003, and he proudly calls Williamsburg home. Dedicated to his community, he often volunteers time with local non-profits and community organizations. An avid outdoorsman, Ben spends much of his free time on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay fishing and crabbing. Ben received a degree in Ag & Applied Economics from The University of Georgia, furthered his education at The Graduate School of Banking at LSU, and recently received a financial technology certification from MIT.