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Ben Rose

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2005, B.A. in Art History
CUNY Graduate Center, 2008, Ph.D. in Art History (inc.)
Sarah Lawrence College, 2009, M.Sci in Lighting

abstract, digital, photography, modern, surrealism, mixed-media



"All that is, is light." - Johannes Scotus Erigena

My work isn’t photography – it’s art made with a camera. I use the camera as an extension of my body to not merely capture light, but render it like one would paint. Essentially, I shoot with the camera, rather than through it (with apologies to William Blake), thus creating what I call kinetic light art photography. Rather than the camera acting as a passive receptor for light movement, it itself moves, using still and usually very ordinary lights to "paint" the images. The camera thus acts as an phenomenological analogue for the eye, receiving and recording light as it maneuvers through space. In each photograph, many of the processes involved in a complicated film take occur over a few seconds, resulting in a still image where lights have been shot from myriad angles and at different distances. All context is removed, and the lights themselves create a completely unique and surreal space of pure light where subject and context become one, documenting the camera-eye's perceptual experience. These are all real photographs that are not computer-generated in any way.
Our visual systems are designed to evoke the sensation of constant connection and unity with our environment without interruption through entoptic phenomena. These phenomena are essentially everything we see that is not "normal" vision, ranging from afterimages to floaters to the patterns seen when one rubs their eyes upon waking. These phenomena never stop, and are visible every moment of the day, whether we pay attention to them or not. Afterimages are perhaps the most noticeable entoptic phenomenon – anyone can attest to "seeing spots" after looking directly at a very bright light. But these afterimages are constant and result from every line and every light perceived in external space, and will change and transform based on a plethora of phenomenological factors, reinforcing a connection with our own bodies. Through the everyday perception of space, we enter into an endless interchange in which light is, at every moment, burning itself anew into our photoreceptors as our eye, in turn, reacts by actively producing afterimages that drape themselves over the visual field with equal rapidity, engendering an endless circle of inscription with the viewer’s eye and external space each producing images of tremendous power. The two merge into one, and if the viewer truly remakes contact with the body through the eye, and acknowledges its presence through afterimages, the result is an inseparable unity that is at every moment changing, a living connection mediated by the organism that is our body and its organ that is the eye.
My artwork is about this connection and its mediation through light, the camera acting as a sort of retina onto which light can paint its impressions, ultimately engendering imagery that resembles entoptic phenomena. Rather than passively capturing space with the camera, I actively create new spaces that resemble the inner space of the viewer, and what I would image to resemble the immaterial, energy-based world that lies beyond our senses.


Spring Opening, 2011, Robert Anderson Photography, New York, NY

All That Is, Is Light, 2010, Evan Anderman Photography, Denver, CO

Denver Biennial: Let Me Be Your Guide (accepted proposal), 2010, Santa Fe Arts District, Denver, CO

It Is Only Being, 2010, Image Complete, Denver, CO

Wish! at the Dallas Contemporary, 2010, Dallas Contemporary Museum, Dallas, TX

Troy Light Out, 2009, Rensselaer Polytechnic Lighting Research Center, Troy, NY
Recent Exhibits

Ben Rose participated in these exhibits:

Mar, 2011 Spring Opening
Robert Anderson Gallery
May, 2010 Wish! at the Dallas Contemporary
Dallas Contemporary
Jan, 2008 Panoramas, New York, 1950s
Steven Kasher Gallery
Exhibited with these artists
Exhibited at these venues
Ben Rose has Exhibited at these venues:

Robert Anderson Gallery Dallas Contemporary
Steven Kasher Gallery
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