Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present False Positives, a solo exhibition by Benjamin Lord. The exhibition consists of three interrelated groups of works that together explore the poetics of time, material, presence and perception.
Within the gallery, three distinct but overlapping zones are defined. In the first zone, large color prints depict phosphenes, appearances of light caused by something other than light, a phenomenon well known since antiquity. These images build on a formal vocabulary initiated by Eaton Canyon Phosphenalia, a portfolio of color prints Lord created in 2006. The prints were created partly through the use of a computer, in order to "photograph" a hallucinatory phenomenon that is essentially unphotographable. In the second zone, a group of sculptures are displayed on a table. Set in gray wooden trays that evoke racks for oversized movable type, the objects narrate a fractured history of a fictional 19th century explorer. A text written by the artist in the voice of the explorer is sliced into four sections. In the third zone, transparent forms are displayed in front of the gallery windows. Sculpted in relief, the framed shapes evoke slabs of an abstract terrain described in meticulous, almost photographic detail, but whose original model is conspicuously absent. The difference between "looking at" and "looking through" becomes the basis of a poetic turn towards perception itself. Together, these three zones are installed in the manner of a tone poem, in which the various elements engage the space of the gallery without being specific to it. Discrepant forms and histories both real and fictional are allowed to resonate, creating a new image of the present.
Spanning the techniques of photography, video, drawing, sculpture, and bookmaking, Benjamin Lord's work often takes the form of a collection or sequence of images, objects and texts. Most recently, in 2010, Humaliwo Chambers, a set of twenty five color photographs in three portfolios, was published in a large edition as the Norton Christmas Project. Lord received his MFA from UCLA in 2002. He lives and works in Los Angeles.