DETAIL IMAGE: Ben Charles Weiner "Gel Monochrome", 2016
DETAIL IMAGE: Ben Charles Weiner "Gilded Pearls"
Ben Charles Weiner: Looks
Mark Moore Fine Art presents Ben Charles Weiner "Looks", featuring four new paintings along with significant earlier works that serve as precedents, an exclusive online ARTSY exhibition that illuminates the artist’s ongoing fascination with the dual motifs of pearls and hair gel.
Ben Charles Weiner's depictions of these subjects, both in isolation and together in tableaux, pair a motif from classical Western painting with a synthetic beauty product, addressing tension between the rapid technological innovation of our time and the persistent fact of our mortality.
Weiner’s paintings of pearls invoke a range of classical paintings, from the Vanitas still life paintings of William Claesz, to Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” to Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” In contrast, Weiner's paintings of blue hair gel as a solitary subject reference the monochrome abstractions of Yves Klein and Ellsworth Kelly. Weiner’s uniform color schemes and high definition imagery belie their origins as works of the hand, building upon monochrome painting’s exploration of the tension between mass production and handcraft.
Together, these works use painting to explore what it means to be human as we integrate synthetic components and technology into our bodies. Weiner takes this exploration further in his paintings of silicone, which depict the same minimal image onto canvases of varying proportions, stretching and augmenting the canvas itself. Contemporary culture’s obsession with bodily enhancement informs Weiner’s paintings of chemical products from cosmetics to surgical injections. Thus, by connecting the opposing styles of abstraction and photorealism, Weiner reflects our alienation from physical experience within a culture that reduces bodily needs into chemical processes.
Weiner (b. 1980, Burlington, VT) received his BA from Wesleyan University (CT). He also studied under Mexican muralist José Lazcarro at Universidad de las Americas (Mexico) and has worked closely with artists Jeff Koons, Kim Sooja and Amy Yoes as an assistant. He has exhibited his work widely across the United States and in Mexico with solo shows in Los Angeles, New York and Puebla, and group exhibitions in Chicago, New York, Miami, New Haven, Ridgefield, Los Angeles and Riverside. His paintings can be found in the Sammlung/Collection (Germany), the Progressive Collection (OH), and the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation Collection (CA). The artist lives and works in New York City.
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