Ten Haaf Projects is proud to present “Snake on Charm's Way”, the gallery’s second solo show by Ben Cottrell (b. 1972). The title suggests a meandering journey into the realms of myth, magic and desire, accompanied by some old metaphysical friends.
Through a variety of approaches, mediums and materials including oil painting, ink drawing, sculpture, assemblage and installation, Cottrell explores the shifting dynamic relations of nature and culture, chaos and order, beauty and horror. Referencing art history, mythology and popular culture, he creates a delirious world, at once humorous and disturbing, populated by goddesses, swirling clouds, staring eyes, deep dark wells and bright blue skies; a romantic paranoiac landscape haunted by the joyous spirit of Dionysus.
As in a dreamlike state, faces, body parts and objects dissolve, transforming into each other. Bodies melt into landscape. Mountains, breasts, sun, eyes and trees dance together to form a fleeting impression of a face. Blank-eyed eyeless women offer a glimpse into eternity, or is it a dead end? Looking at the works of Ben Cottrell, various thoughts come to mind. Could it be perceived as a Traumdeutung of Freud, where the unconsciousness and dreams play a major role?
Women appear in many different forms and shapes, whose seductive beauty and attraction are reminiscent of “A Snake on Charms Way”. In the words of Henri Dietz, “The repeated linking of woman and nature conjures up associations of creation myths and fertility allegories. In their interplay, they invite projections of irrational and uncontrollable drives that erupt in delirium, as from a crack in Nature´s idyll.”