Martin L. Benson’s exploration of the healing power of art has its roots in personal experience. Born in Georgia and raised in Kentucky, Benson headed to University of Southern California for college, but his college education was temporarily interrupted when he became seriously ill and had to return home. “[That experience] opened up my world to my spirituality, which fostered a healthier relationship with myself and the world,” says Benson.

Benson’s hunger for greater understanding and meaning led him to the ancient science of Sacred Geometry –  the geometry used in the design of religious structures, sacred places and religious art – and to the mathematical underpinnings of the cosmos. “Math’s universal language transcends linguistics, symbolism and mythology, while at the same time remaining strongly connected to it,” says Benson. “Its inherent principles indicate the thumbprint of the creator.”

For Benson, the math that belies creation points to the profound truth that despite our outward differences, we are more alike than not. His art is a means of communicating that message – as well as the message of healing, which Benson describes as a lifelong process. He has worked in a variety of media, including photography, painting and sculpture/installation.

The contemplative quality and healing focus of Benson’s work were well-aligned with the goals for the art collection put together for the new University Medical Center. UMC is now home to four of Benson’s paintings, including a large, colorful painting on un-stretched canvas, which has a fabric or tapestry-like appearance. “I like the metaphor of the interwoven-ness or interdependence,” he says of the piece.

Familial ties (his Louisiana-born parents now reside in New Orleans) and the desire to live in an affordable, culturally rich city conducive to art, brought Benson and his wife to New Orleans, where they plan to stay. Currently pursuing his MFA at UNO and teaching, Benson is immersed in painting, describing his work as geometric, symbolic and meditative. “My paintings are artifacts of my own contemplation,” he says. “They are also fields you can gaze into and contemplate and explore and derive your own meaning.”

Other works by Benson include land, sky and waterscapes that look as if they are visible through a geometric lens, and sculpture combining light and sound. His works have been shown locally at both the Contemporary Arts Center and The Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Find his work