John Benicewicz, ‘Self Portrait’, 2016, FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery
John Benicewicz, ‘Self Portrait’, 2016, FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery
John Benicewicz, ‘Self Portrait’, 2016, FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery
John Benicewicz, ‘Self Portrait’, 2016, FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery
John Benicewicz, ‘Self Portrait’, 2016, FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery
John Benicewicz, ‘Self Portrait’, 2016, FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery
John Benicewicz, ‘Self Portrait’, 2016, FRED.GIAMPIETRO Gallery

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My paintings explore universal and deeply personal themes simultaneously. They are about the struggles between life and death, oppression and resistance, and the short distance between lust and fear. In creating these works, I was interested in the merging and clashing of many different things, including emotional aspects, subject matter, and formal issues. My purpose was to create a unity–a oneness–out of the struggle, by pulling the elements together to make something new. To this end, some shapes/forms in the works have multiple meanings. These paintings are somber and humorous, sensual and grotesque; they are representational and abstract, personal and sublime. In each of the paintings there are recurring themes relating to queer sexuality, my memories of childhood, and the joys and anxieties I’m experiencing in adulthood. And there is always a sense of transition and change occurring within them. I’ve also continued within many of the works a sub-theme relating to the life cycle of bees, which stems from my childhood obsession with them. In these works I explore the mating flight, where male bees–called drones–eventually fall out of the sky, dying, having mated with the queen. I see many dark parallels between this experience and the human experience of sex and sexuality. Desire and death have always kept uncomfortably close quarters and that awareness has informed my work for years.

About John Benicewicz

American, b. 1975, based in New York, NY, United States