Whether or not it is intentional, I also notice traces from some of my other favorite artists like Matthew Palladino, Richard Coleman and a few others, but Ben's work is definitely unique in its own right. The paintings are stunning in person and his latest collection at The Infantree titled, Talking Shop, marks his first solo exhibition.
Benjamin approaches each painting as a story waiting to be told. Images are often embedded with multiple levels of meaning and retain a desire to mine past histories. Exploring these ideas through painting allows many possible resolutions; his inclinations toward stark, bold, and often flat imagery hint toward a kind of certainty that is difficult to attain in our modern world.
The shallowly spaced compositions offer refuge for floating heads, coiled snakes, bodiless arms, and textile-influenced pattern. These elements build a complex, personal vocabulary, which recalls the folk-art prevalent in my Pennsylvania upbringing. The creation of a familiar, but skewed world, the sensation of the unheimlich, is what fuels his work.
Here's some words from Ben regarding his recent Solo show:
"In my first solo show ‘Talking Shop’ characters are highlighted in a historic and stoic fashion. My goal in this show was to investigate a further psychological profile of my subject matter—giving them a history, solidifying their existence in relics. I wanted to document the dueling emotions ingrained in the working class psyche – one of burden and pride. Arising, also, are icebergs, aquariums, and antique vases—extending the vocabulary into a surreal landscape of homage and struggle."
I'm sure we will see more from him soon. Thanks Ben!
Julian Duron - julian [at] fecalface.com