Award-winning artist Jason Benjamin was found dead after being reported missing over the weekend in the southwestern town of Carrathool, New South Wales

Police found the 50-year-old’s body in the Murrumbidgee River after a search of the area on Tuesday

Mr. Benjamin has exhibited his work in the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Parliament House Collection and in over 40 solo exhibitions worldwide

He was a multiple finalist of the Archibald Prize and won the Packing Room Prize in 2005 for his painting of the late actor Bill Hunter

But the artist’s bread and butter were impressive pieces of the Australian landscape, stretching from Alice Springs to Broken Hill

Sydney Gallery Nanda Hobbs represented Mr. Benjamin and director Ralph Hobbs said it was a tragedy that his life and work had been cut

“I like to call them romantic landscapes; they always told stories about things around him,” Hobbs said

“He felt life very intensely, so it wasn’t just about painting trees and skies, it was a layered story of loss of love and romance throughout all of this work,” he said

“When he was in a landscape, he not only took pictures of it, he really felt what it was like to be in that place”

Mr Benjamin was reported missing on Monday afternoon Spotted in Carrathool, New South Wales at 8 p.m. February and stayed at a nearby campsite

Mr. Hobbs said he had toured west NSW in preparation for an upcoming exhibition

“He was very excited about poems he was also working on that they would be added to these paintings”

Born in Melbourne in 1971, Benjamin spent his childhood in the United States and Mexico before moving to Sydney high school

When he was 16, he was awarded a scholarship to study art at the Stony Brook School and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and had his first group show in downtown Manhattan in 1989 and returned to Australia in the 1990s / p>

Mr. Benjamin won the Mosman Art Prizes in 1993, 1994 and 1996 and has painted portraits of the musicians Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers in Archibald Prize entries

Tim Olsen, director of the Olsen Galleries and son of famous artist John Olsen, was one of the first to exhibit Mr. Benjamin and they remained close friends for years

“It was the sadness and melancholy in his work that ran parallel to his own life,” he said

“He got distracted by the promise of big money and got a little lost, but that’s exactly what happens to young talent

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Jason Benjamin

World news – AU – Prominent Australian artist found dead at 50