thus we have done, acrylic, rose, spray paint, tape, chalk, 26" x 32", 2012
Born in Northern Illinois, Benjamin Gardner received his MFA from Illinois State University and his BFA from Millikin University. He currently teaches in the Department of Art and Design at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He has had exhibitions throughout the U.S., including recent solo exhibitions at FLUXX Gallery in Des Moines and Heavy Brow Gallery in Bloomington, Illinois and group exhibitions at the Bemis Center in Omaha, Nebraska, Rebekah Templeton Gallery in Philadelphia, and Contemporary Arts Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. He lives and works in Des Moines.
In an over-explained and over-quantified culture with a focus on monetary gain I take solace in superstitions, divination, and folklore. Conceptually, these traditions support a more simplified existence that relies on time and the history of our culture. Visually, the language and forms of lore arise from mystic texts, constellations, circular imagery such as mandalas and hex signs while using disenchanted materials such as paint, pie tins, old pillows, and dead plants.
Making images has long been a humble past time; the concept of "fine art" has changed making images into a hierarchical battle and market. Making objects, images, and working with ideas of where meaning comes from lead me to observations about culture and society. To this end my work has usefulness and purpose outside of the art market and can be something other than fine art. Like Alan Lomax collecting folk music that represents specific peoples, I feel that my work is representative of my ontological existence in a specific time and place.
Abstraction has always had some part of cultural symbolism. Moving between painting, object making, and photography is not only conducive to expression of ideas; the variety is also born from availability of materials and working towards a more self-sufficient life and studio practice. Many materials are byproducts of living, growing food, homesteading, and an understanding of being a part of the larger system of existence.
Benjamin Gardner's website
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on February 18, 2013