Ben painting at home while Phoebe, his long-time assistant, relaxes in the foreground.
Ben Bassham is an Emeritus Professor of Art History at Kent State University. After offering courses on American art and architecture for 30 years he retired in 1999 to devote his time to his first love, painting. Ben’s colorful and realistic views of the landscape reflect his travels to diverse parts of this country as well as Italy, where he has gone many times. He is drawn to the striking New Mexico deserts and mountains and to the coastlines of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
He and his family spend the month of May each year in Taos, New Mexico, a town with a long and distinguished place in the history of American painting. Even today, as Ben likes to say, Taos boasts “more artists than lawyers.” Most of Ben’s paintings represent Taos and its surroundings. Ben studied art at the University of Arkansas, where he graduated in 1964. He then chose to pursue graduate work in Art History at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. A trip to Florence in 1988, where he directed a K.S.U. Honors program, inspired him to return to making his own art as well as teaching courses on the art of others.
Ben and his painting, "Los Ojos, New Mexico
Since his return to painting around 1992, he has had three solo exhibitions---two at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio---and has shown his paintings in several Grand Exhibitions of the Akron Society of Artists. His work has also been included in group shows in Youngstown (at the Butler Institute of American Art), Parkersburg, West Virginia, Kent, and Taos. During the fall of 2006 Ben's paintings were also shown in national exhibitions in Indianapolis, Buffalo, and New York City. Ben has also attended workshops of the Plein Air Painters of America, where he studied with Ralph Oberg, and has studied at the Taos Institute of Arts with Don Ward. In addition to his artistic production, Ben has written three books, edited two others, and published numerous scholarly articles.
Ben and his wife, Carlyn, live in Kent, Ohio.
View of Taos Mountain from Ben's Studio
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