Opening October 1, 2020: Ben Weiner “Petals” – An Exclusive ARTSY Online Exhibition
View This Show Now at: https://bit.ly/3kqQmE5
Mark Moore Fine Art presents “Ben Weiner: Petals” The exhibition presents a group of 18 new drawings of abstracted flowers made using the artist’s unique process of soaking ink-coated paper in drugs and household chemicals. The entire body of work was made at the artist’s home in New York City during its lockdown at the height of the pandemic there.
As the artist states: “During the lockdown here in New York, my practice became a safe space for me to process my emotions amid the surrounding chaos. My process of soaking drawings in household chemicals gained meaning when we were trapped in our homes, and supplies for basic living such as Advil and alcohol– many in short supply at that time– came into sharp focus. Obviously we were scared for our lives and loved ones, and the motif of flowers seemed to embody all of these concerns and more: as a fixture of the home in traditional still life, a proxy for human connection, an embodiment of beauty, and a symbol of mortality, flowers gave me a simple formal motif into which I could pour the many intense emotions I was experiencing. “
To create the works in “Petals,” Weiner first made ink drawings of flowers, and then soaked them in solutions of drugs including Viagra, Advil, MDMA, and Opium. In the resulting drawings, flowers seem to explode with color and mutate beyond their physical forms, evoking apocalyptic visions, sunsets, and the cosmos. Aptly, such imagery feels simultaneously of the moment, and eternal.
The historical references in this series run accordingly deep, from Dutch still lifes of flowers, to Rothko’s dark color fields, to Damian Hirst’s medical cabinets, to Gehard Richter’s blurred bouquets. A particular source to which Weiner returned throughout the series was the “Unpainted Pictures” series Emil Nolde made in secret after the Nazis prohibited him from painting. In a hidden room in his house, Nolde created watercolors on tiny scraps of paper, his wildly expressive command of color embodying the tumultuous emotions of his inner world. Nolde’s use of color is an evident influence on Weiner’s flower drawings. Less obvious but equally relevant is their shared use of paper as a support. As with Nolde’s “Unpainted Pictures,” the fragility of paper physically embodies the vulnerability Weiner felt at the time he made his flower drawings.
Indeed, Weiner has stated that the title “Petals” is itself a reference to the thin sheets of paper on which these works were made. Separated from the flower itself, petals can symbolize both passion– as when lovers scatter rose petals on the ground– and the ephemerality of a dying flower, its petals falling away. Weiner has stated that this is how he wants his flower drawings to function: acknowledging our frailty but also emanating emotion, to ultimately create human connection in a time of adversity.
Ben 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.
For more information, visit our website at: https://www.markmoorefineart.com/artists/ben-charles-weiner