b. 1947, Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Douglas Bentham was born in Rosetown, Saskatchewan in 1947 and moved with his family to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1959. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (painting) from the University of Saskatchewan in 1969, and a Master of Fine Arts (sculpture), also from the University of Saskatchewan, in 1989.
Bentham established his first sculpture studio in 1969 and has become one of Canada's most recognized sculptors. He lives in a converted schoolhouse and works in a studio on an acreage near Dundurn, Saskatchewan, close to Saskatoon.
Bentham has executed several public sculpture commissions in Canada, including those at the National Science Library (now the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information) in Ottawa, Ontario, the Government of Canada building in Calgary, Alberta and Innovation Place in Saskatoon. He is a collector of old movie posters, ethnic Saskatchewan furniture, folk art, and handmade toys which all catch his eye. He also gathers and uses materials from early-twentieth century prairie life such as tools, machinery, metal, and decorative brass mouldings that he reincorporates into his sculpture.
In a conversation with Bentham in 1975, critic Terrence Heath suggested that he differs from other sculptors in that he has only a basic idea of the space he wants to fill with his work, and proceeds from there. Bentham confirmed this instinctual approach to his art-making in his reply: "That's about as much of a starting point as I have ... I used to say it was literally putting two pieces together and starting." (Heath, 1975)
Bentham is a Founding Member of Canadian Artists' Representation, now known as CARFAC, which advocates on behalf of artists' economic and legal rights. In 1976 Bentham was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.