Allen Bentley

Allen Bentley is making his mark with images of swimming couples and bustling dancers made of quick, energetic touches. His exploration of figures in motion runs throughout his career. Even his still-lifes in college seemed to shift in place. Bentley uses motion to discuss the dynamic nature of our quest for connection in our lives. 

He received his Master’s of Fine Art from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and his Bachelor’s of Fine Art from Western Carolina University in 1996. Bentley was represented by the Bridgette Mayer Gallery from 2001 to 2013 and is currently showing with F.A.N. Gallery, both in Philadelphia. He has exhibited across the country, with solo exhibitions in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and San Diego. He has shown in the Philadelphia International Airport and in Artworks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2009, Bentley had his first solo museum show at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, DE. Bentley lives inClarksburg, MD with his wife and children.


The pursuit of real interaction drives so much of our relationships. In my Pillow Fight series, Water and Dance series, my work explores human intimacy and connection through motion. The relationship of the couple is the focus as the figures turn through space. The painting holds them in the flutter of the moment. 

I start by capturing that relationship in photo shoots. From directing the action of the models to choosing the wardrobe, my paintings start with these moments. A quick gesture on canvas builds the connections between the figures. That initial good drawing runs through the painting process, building the figures through a flurry of marks. Energy and passion, rhythm and play guide my figures through moments of reaching, spinning, holding.