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About Keith W.

Baltimore City

The art of Keith W. Bentley is shaped as much by the artist’s east-coast heritage as it is by his love for the inorganic and the morbid. Born in Burlington, Vermont and raised just over the Canadian Border in New Brunswick, his multi-disciplinary approach and bizarre use of materials seek to immortalize bodies and practices that have since passed: everything from dead animals and salvaged industrial objects, to the most obscure of Victorian traditions. Currently living in Baltimore, Maryland, his... more

Cauda Equina Series

This body of works explores and merges Victorian hair art and modern day society. More specifically, mankind's use of horses throughout history.

  • Speed Bag

    leather punching bag, hand knotted horse hair 30" x 8" x 8"
  • PLA6479

    automotive air filter, horse hair 26" x 16" x 5"
  • Small Filter

    air filter, horse hair 9" x 3" x 3"
  • Untitled (box with hair)

    found metal box, horse hair, fabric, wood 30" x 11" x 8"
  • Untitled (small tire)

    rubber tire, horse hair, fabric 24"H x 12.5"W x 10"D
  • Untitled (Large Tire)

    rubber tire, horse hair, embroidery needles 31"H x 24"W x 6"D
  • Cauda Equina

    Cauda Equina (hand-knotted horsehair, fabric, resin, and foam form, 76 x 24 x 63 inches)combines the my interest in the macabre with pointed social criticism. I drew on Victorian funeral rites to create a memorial to the thousands of horses killed each year in rendering plants. Made over a twelve-year period, the sculpture incorporates approximately 1.4 million strands of hand-knotted horsehair collected from more than 250 slaughtered horses that function as a mourning veil. Collection of the Delaware Art Museum


FLOAT is a series of sculptures by Baltimore-based artist, Keith W. Bentley. The initial light and whimsical presence of his works give way to an exploration of loss through his material explorations. Raised Roman Catholic, Bentley reflects and cultivates the transformative elements of love and death, pain and pleasure, intimacy and separation. This is particularly evident in Lead Tears (White). In this sculpture the Virgin Mary’s outstretched arms offer comfort despite the heavy weight of lead tears cascading from her face. In Contessa (Yellow) and Contessa (Orange) both from 2014, the accumulation of floats allows an idea to be tangible, yet slip through one’s fingers, just as the float bobs in and out of the water on a fishing line signalling a catch.

These extraordinary figures coupled with the repetitive application process morph the original object into the exceptional resulting in unexpected associations for the viewer. Drawing from his personal history, including childhood bullying, past partners, the unspeakable pain of losing a loved one, and one’s own character, Bentley embraces longing and possibility along with the suffering of lived experience. (Lonsdale Gallery)

  • Spring Widow

    20" x 7" x 7" resin figure, paint, hand knit mohair
  • Castrating (David), 2014

    59" x 23" x 16" resin figure, paint, steel and silicone castration rings
  • Untitled (Second Attempt), 2014

    33" x 13" x 9" Resin figure, wood, paint, plastic broom bristles. The title of this comes from it being the second time I worked with bristles in a piece. (The first was a bright blue head with the face replaced with bristles) When I started sketching the series out I was talking a lot with my ex who is dealing with some pretty serious medical issues and thinking how I am the one who is always picking up the pieces. The ideas merged into each other in my head and I started replacing parts of the form with bristles.
  • The Dying Slave ( for Michelangelo )

    46" x 34" x 35" resin figure, fiberglass, leather, foam, concrete
  • Untitled (for Louise) reverse

    35" x 18" x 20" resin figure, plaster, paint, velcro and rubber.
  • Untitled (for Louise)

    35" x 18" x 20" resin figure, plaster, paint, velcro and rubber.
  • Lead Tears

    re-purposed resin figure, plaster, paint, lead weights, steel 24"H x 11"W x 8"D This is the first Lead Tears sculpture I made. These were created during a particularly dark few months in my life. One of my closest friends hung himself in his studio in June and then later, a childhood friend and room-mate was found dead in his apartment. The weight of these losses in my life and the grief is represented in the weight and size of the lead tears on this figure of the Virgin Mary.
  • Float (orange)

    34" x 15" x 10" re-purposed resin figure, plastic floats, paint, plaster and steel
  • The Widow

    ceramic figure, hand knit mohair 20" x 6" x 6" The first sculpture to not utilize horse hair in more than a decade, it was a big step for me. The end of Cauda Equina (for a while) and the beginning of the FLOAT series.

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Keith W.'s Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.