Benjamin King

I bully and beg my way through, the process is improvisational within finite rules that change over time. I make a range of different things all of which share a root code that derives heavily from the history of painting as well as selected sculptural traditions. My work is a river of art and life that I’m tumbling down, getting battered by rocks along the way but nevertheless being gradually smoothed by the process in a way that is not unpleasant. My landscapes are about a world of empty hills and dismembered leafless trees that huddle together in the last stages of an ecological collapse. The entities of these worlds, the trees and the hills themselves, are all invested with a parody of human psychological tension. The emotional tenor is one of fighting despair over loss with the comedy of human imperfection. My intention is to depict something felt, not seen. I create approximations of seen things, then combine them in ways that have overlapping meaning. This circuitry of relationships is a way to make things that outwardly seem familiar, but upon further inspection become very unfamiliar. My process is dependent on incorporating my direct consciousness of nature as a force, from a point of remove. I’m looking for strategies to step outside myself in order to allow improvisation to guide the creation of an object. Making this work is like trying to recall a memory where the majority of the visual detail and narrative have been lost or obscured, but for some reason the memory is still there. I am trying to capture that compression of images and sensations retained by the mind. The meaning of the work relies not on one single condition or reading, but on our ability to effortlessly process a confluence of meanings generated by the same piece. These pictures seem to fail as landscapes, while succeeding as abstractions, yet inextricably remain landscapes. Or maybe they walk a line that removes them from both categories. The physicality of the surface and the cartoon-like simplification of the imagery undermines seeing the work as only a landscape painting. Brushstrokes and textures mimic the feeling of nature more than they literally describe it. It is like there are two separate systems of logic at work; one defines it in terms of familiar symbols for nature and the landscape and another abstract logic seems connected to an intuitive sensibility.

 

CV

 

Solo Exhibitions

2017
Ober Gallery, Kent, CT (upcoming October)
Laroche/Joncas, Montreal, Ca (upcoming December)

2016
Four AM, New York, NY Benjamin King

2014
Arts & Leisure, New York, NY Simple Mountain
Longhouse Projects, New York, NY  Abdolreza Aminlari and Benjamin King
Laroche/Joncas, Montreal, Ca Various Deposits

2012
Laroche/Joncas, Montreal, Ca  You are Leaving

2010
Laroche/Joncas, Montreal, Ca  White Sparkle

2000
Century 900 Gallery, Chicago, IL  Surface and Story

 

Group Exhibitions

2015
HKJB, New York, NY Temple of Vates
Laroche/Joncas, Montreal, Ca Out of Town
Madelyn Jordon Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY I Am What I Am Not Yet

2014
Zürcher Studio, New York, NY Salon Zürcher booth with Laroche/Joncas
C2C Project Space, San Francisco, CA  Abstraction Naturally
Drive-by Projects, Watertown, MA Event of the Line
Underdonk, New York, NY Genesis Forward Battery

2013
Laroche/Joncas, New York, NY  Summer Show
Jordana Zeldin, New York, NY  Earthly Pleasures
Tiffany Calvert, Henry Samelson and Mark Joshua Epstein, New York, NY P.I.L.F.
Collective Show, Mexico City, Mx  Collective Show Mx

2012
Laroche/Joncas, Montreal, Ca  Upside Downturn
The Dirty Dirty, New York, NY,  On the Fence
The Atlantic Conference, curated by Matt Jones, New York, NY  The Final Frontier
EJ Hauser and Rob Nadeau, New York, NY  Wavers
Bruce High Quality Foundation / Vito Schnabel, New York, NY  Brucennial 2012

2011
Limerick-Frazier Gallery, Austin TX  Trans Medium
ART BLOG ART BLOG, New York, NY  Snowclones
Laroche/Joncas, Montreal, Ca  Group Show
HKJB, New York, NY  Control Alt Delete
Bronx River Art Center, New York, NY  The Working Title

2010
Participant Inc., New York, NY The Collective Show
University of Chicago,DOVA Temp, Chicago, IL A Selection from a Decade of Painting at the Department of Visual Arts
Ridgway Exhibitions, San Francisco, CA It’s My World
Second Home Projects, Berlin, Ge Born to Die
Kumukumu Gallery, curated by Mako Wakasa, New York, NY Landscape and Solitude
Fortress to Solitude, New York, NY Bushwick Schlact
HKJB, New York, NY Portable Caves
Ridgway Exhibitions, San Francisco, CA Paper Awesome

2009    
ACME, Los Angeles, CA  Seasonal Pictures
Projecx MTL, Montreal, Ca  Brut
Dvorak Sec Contemporary, Prague, Cz  A Taste of Young New York
Silver Shed, New York, NY  ABCyz Benefit Show
Apartment Show, Envoy Enterprises, New York, NY  Joshua Smith's B-Day Party
The Painting Center, New York, NY  25/35
Fortress to Solitude, New York, NY  A Painting Show
HKJB, New York, NY  Personal Abstraction
Rogue Space, New York, NY  Ft2

2008    
Artists Space, New York, NY  Night of a 1000 Drawings
Prince St Gallery, New York, NY  Small Works Show

2004    
David and Alfred Smart Museum, Chicago IL  Student Show
University of Chicago, Franke Institute, Chicago, IL  Narrative Purgatory
University of Chicago, Department of Visual Arts, Chicago, IL  11 Pack

 

Curatorial Projects

2014
HKJB, Underdonk, New York, NY  Genesis Forward Battery

2013
HKJB, The Sphinx, New York, NY  End Times (upcoming)
Collective Show, Mexico City, Mx  Collective Show Mx

2012
HKJB, Galerie Laroche/Joncas, Montreal, Ca  Upside Downturn

2011
ARTBLOGARTBLOG, co-curated with Rob Nadaeu, New York, NY  Snowclones
HKJB, New York, NY  Control Alt Delete
HKJB, New York, NY  Pieced Together

2010
Participant Inc., New York, NY  Collective Show
HKJB, New York, NY  Portable Caves
Collective Show, Silver Shed, New York, NY  ABCYZ

2009
HKJB, New York, NY  Bad Graphic Design
HKJB, New York, NY  Personal Abstraction

 

Grants and Awards

2013
Edward F. Albee Foundation

 

Education

2005 MFA - University of Chicago
2000 BFA - School of the Art Institute of Chicago
1999 The International School, Umbria, Italy

 

Bibliography

Fisher, Michelle Millar. “Abdolreza Aminlari and Benjamin King” ARTnews, Summer 2014

Kohler, William. “Benjamin King at Longhouse Projects” Huffington Post, April 11, 2014

Romashevskaya, Irina. “Longhouse Projects Abdolreza Aminlari and Benjamin King.” Nu Mode Magazine, Spring/Summer 2014: 193

Samelson, Henry. “Benjamin King; Studio Visit” Buddy of Work, April 1, 2013

Rosati, Lauren and Staniszewski, Mary Anne. Alternative Histories New York Art Spaces 1960-2010 Co published by EXIT Art and The MIT Press, pp. 368 – 369

New York Post Modern, “NYC Painters Take Montreal: HKJB @ LAROCHE/JONCAS” September 6, 2012

Forget, Betina. “You are Leaving – Benjamin King at Laroche/Joncas" The Belgo Report, April 24, 2012

Smith, Matthew, “Progress Report: Q&A with Kris Chatterson and Vince Contarino" New American Paintings, October 20, 2011

Russeth, Andrew. “Control Alt Delete: A One-Night HKJB Show in Bushwick” 16 Miles of String, June 2, 2011

Skene, Cameron. “Benjamin King” Border Crossings, Issue 117, March - May 2011

Crest, Russ. “Benjamin King Is Into The Wild” Beautiful Decay, March 29, 2011

Chatterson, Kris. “Benjamin King / Studio Visit” Progress Report, August 26, 2010

Bamberger, Alan. “Baer Ridgway, Marx & Zavaterro, NOMA, Artzone 461, James Snidle, Misho” ArtBusiness.com, July 24, 2010

Warner, Emily. “Making Space” NYFA Current, June 13, 2009

Warner, Emily. “Art Minus Gallery: 'Personal Abstraction' in Sunset Park” Bomblog, May 11, 2009

 

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