LewAllen Galleries

Christopher Benson: Withheld Narratives

Christopher Benson: Withheld Narratives

Friday, August 1, 2014Friday, August 29, 2014

1613 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA

In striking scenes of New Mexico landscape and i magined interior space, artist Christopher Benson reduces visual experience to cap tivatingly essential forms. LewAllen Galleries in the Santa Fe Railyard presents an exhi bition of the artist’s latest oil paintings, entitled Withheld Narratives, beginning with a reception for the artist on Friday , August 1. The show is on view through August 29.

The scenes appear eerily spare, almost stark and sp ectral in their reduction of detail and focus. The primary effect is one of elemental shape and co lor. Benson distills imagery to capture ordinary places and people as though frozen in time and stripped of unnecessary detail that might distract. The pictures yield powerful impress ions of the subject matter’s essence. Benson’s unique style subtly integrates surface and form, combining elements of realism and abstraction to create glimpses rather than narrativ es. The artist is acclaimed for his uncanny use of rich color combinations and only enough pictoria l familiarity to engender fresh perceptions of what “ reality” means.

With a highly singular combination of clear light, lush hues and odd angles, Benson teases from his pictures bot h memory and mystery. Subjects have vague familiarity but something about the viewpoint and stillness of imag e is perplexing. The combination is distinctly engaging.

Benson creates a voyeuristic sense of the everyday world: adobe homes, forgotten buildings, roads and alleywa ys, domestic tableaux, views from his own window and kitchen counter, presented with a stillness and a s olipsistic sense of isolation that is at once suspenseful and meditative.

Benson’s pictorial facture employs quirky perspecti ve and complex combinations of precise line and geometric form, juxtaposed with more expressive brushstrokes and vivid color saturations. Where, fo r instance, a roof meets the sky with smooth geometri c precision, the shadow of an overhanging power line crosses the building with raw painterly application . Color is also a powerful essential aspect of his un ique visual language. The artist uses his rich and sensu ous palette combined with layered, dense planes of pigment to articulate his unique expressions of vei led anticipation.

Born in Providence, RI, to two artist parents, Bens on attended the Rhode Island School of Design for thre e years before heading to New Mexico and California t o pursue painting and continue his education on his own. Benson returned to RISD to co mplete his BFA Painting in 2005 after receiving the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundatio n Painting Fellowship in 2001. Benson’s work is housed in important collections such as the Muse um of Modern Art. He now works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.