To be an artist is not a matter of making paintings or objects at all. What we are really dealing with is our state of consciousness and the shape of our perceptions.
— Robert Irwin
We're all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.
— Tennessee Williams
Ben Buswell’s art is a striking balance of beauty and concept. He makes choices to restrain the seductive nature of the work, and avoids mastery of materials. By using abstracted or displaced images and cutting those images, he denies our recognition as well.
For Buswell, this is necessary to make work. His art is an investigation into the world of memory and meaning, but he is mindful that the viewer does not understand a story or image outside of their own language or lens. He states, “Illustration is not good enough, language is not good enough.”
He views the problem of representation, where there may be varied interpretations based on personal experiences, as a starting point rather than an end. Ideas of perception permeate his work, as they do in the work of Robert Irwin, an artist Buswell admires. But unlike Irwin’s art, his work comes from a personal narrative and he leaves threads of this narrative visible for the viewer. Buswell gives us a reference to recognizable images, however altered, as an entry point to the concepts in his work.
Buswell’s work exists on the edge of dichotomies in several ways, between image and object, between language and experience, and between the physical and the spiritual. His imagery of surfaces of skin and water allude to this; the surface is the edge between one thing and another. Memory is physical – it is the firing of synapses in the brain – and so it cannot be truly shared. There is always the final dichotomy of self and others.
On View: February 17 - March 27, 2015
Photos by: Worksighted