George Billis Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition of work by Ben Schwab. The exhibition features the artist’s newest body of abstracted cityscapes and continues through February 17th.
The artist writes of his work, “the concepts of ‘here’ and “there” have always been interesting to me—particularly the question of what causes us to connect with a space as our ‘here’ or to perceive it as a detached, distant ‘there.’ We are living in a time when technology allows us to see places that were once unseen, and to access moments and images from across the world without taking a step. We can concern ourselves with almost any place, at almost any time. The sheer volume of information at our fingertips can quickly lead to disorientation and fragmentation.”
So what draws us to engage with certain places and disengage with others? How does being physically present in a space activate our senses and inform our perceptions differently than observing it from outside? As we attempt to bridge the gap between “here” and “there,” what context is lost?
These are the questions Schwab is exploring in both his process and the visual construction of his paintings and drawings. He has long been fascinated with the dynamics of cities, where one can simultaneously observe decay and vitality, expansion and contraction, and history and impermanence. Layering and mark-making allow the artist to explore these themes, and combining and manipulating images allows him to capture multiple views and introduce a sense of abstraction. The result is a place that is both familiar and unfamiliar, blurring the lines between here and there and creating an experience that is unique for each viewer.
Ben Schwab received a B.F.A. in Painting from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, and a M.F.A. in Painting from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Ben’s work has been featured in gallery and university exhibitions throughout the United States, including: George Billis Gallery in New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA; Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, DE; Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA; Bowery Gallery in New York, NY; and several other national exhibitions. Ben is currently represented by Stanek Gallery in Philadelphia. Ben’s awards include a Residency Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, the Community Arts Artist Grant from Saratoga Arts; Professional Development Grants and the Scholars & Artists Grants - both from The College of Saint Rose; and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the United States Department of Education. A Javits Fellowship recipient for three consecutive years, Ben studied and traveled abroad in Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, England, the Netherlands and France. Ben’s work is in the permanent collections of Brandywine Realty Trust, Courier Corporation, TMA Systems, and The Windsor Companies. Ben is currently an Associate Professor of Painting & Drawing at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.