Erik Benson's contemporary landscape paintings are simultaneously dystopian and romantic, exhibiting a discerning intelligence and graphic punch. He works with acrylic paint, which he spreads in thin layers on a glass table to dry before using an X-Acto knife to cut it into shapes. Benson peels off these decal-like pieces and collages them into the picture, building up the surface of the canvas into a low-relief in a process that mirrors the constructed nature of the buildings and urban sites that he depicts. The artist explains "I am interested in the mimetic relationship between the architectural subjects in the paintings and the process in which they are produced. I'm interested in how this construction process allows in a painting vocabulary an exploration of unexamined things."
Benson was born in Detroit, MI and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He is a former NYFA fellowship recipient and has an upcoming residency scheduled for 2011 at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.
(Images: Erik Benson, Condo #1, Acrylic on Canvas over Panel, 30 x 40 in; Seedless, 2010, Acrylic on Canvas over Panel, 42 x 54 in; Courtesy of the artist and Eight Modern)
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