Benjamin Spiers Introducing "Spellbound" @ His LA Solo Debut
On March 15th, Benjamin Spiers will be revealing his debut US solo exhibition at Avenue Des Arts in Los Angeles. Spellbound will include a selection of works created in the past two years, presenting an overview of British painter's unusual practice and distinctive visual language.
Over the years Cornwall-born artist has been jumping back and forth between abstraction and figuration, building up towards an uncommon mixture of unlike styles. Both free from representational qualities and obsessive about rendering some elements, Spiers developed a unique style in which abstract imagery is painted realistically. Using the subject as the vehicle to express his artistic performance, even the simples creations are rich in texture, light effects, depth, and all the traditional painterly elements. Showing the eclectic influences behind his work, the images reveal such details as "the knotty convolutions of ancient bonsai trees, the pared-down perfection of a Mondrian painting, the special effects in Terminator 2, the frenzied vertical detail of Gothic Cathedrals, or the grunty, yet fluid drawing of Robert Crumb," as explained by the artist himself.
We had a peek inside the artist's London studio just a few days ago, and got to see some of the finished and works in progress that he is preparing for this important showcase. Sometimes working from classical art reference, sometimes from his drawings done by hand using Apple Pencil on iPad Pro with Procreate, Spiers likes to construct a space in which he will be able to play with same or similar elements that he enjoys discovering in other artist's work. "There’s a huge hidden world of thoughtfulness and complexity that lives in the paint, but which only reveals itself over time," he says about the way he wants his work to affect the viewer and adds, "I get that, in very different ways, in Mondrian paintings, in De Kooning, in Monet, in John Currin, in Piero Della Francesca and on and on."
When asked about what is he expecting from this showcase, the artist tells us "I guess what I’d most like - looking forward - is a combination of people seeing my work, and getting out of it the pleasure of looking and feeling that I’ve put into it. And on a practical level, to get myself into a position where I can continue to dedicate my life to the beautiful, painful, exciting task of making my work full-time!" As for the motivation behind the continuous work, and his constant output, Spiers explains "I’ve realized that a lot of stuff that preoccupies people - and used to preoccupy me - isn’t really very important. As time goes by it becomes clearer and clearer to me that what makes my life meaningful is the dogged pursuit of my vision. It’s a cliche for an artist to say that I suppose, but that commitment has been through some very testing times over that last couple of decades, and far from dimming it just becomes ever more compelling."
Text by Sasaha Bogojev