In artist Benjamin Britton’s exhibition This Unfolding Idyll, the reward comes from looking beyond the abstract surface beauty to discover deeper meaning. This Unfolding Idyll shows in the West Gallery of Albany Museum of Art from Dec 13, 2018 through Feb 23, 2019.
“My work often appears at first to function like a dense and colorful abstract painting, but contains representations of nameable things and places,” says Britton. “I work with color and space to reflect the mechanisms of sensation in the body, to inspire a feeling of motion, and to continually reward the investigation of pictorial space.”
The paintings capture the underlying complexity of human relationships and nature.
“The paintings in This Unfolding Idyll propose a loss of coherency between the knowledge of where and when our body is located in the landscape and the sensation of our location in space and time,” the Palo Alto, California, native said. “In brief, the paintings use this sensation to explore human relationships to ecological conditions.
“Like emotional relationships with other humans, these relationships are often deeper and more complicated than one normally ends up accounting for, and are often revealed just at the moment our emotions get the best of us.”
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Britton has an MFA in painting from UCLA and a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and is represented by the Marcia Wood Gallery. His work has been shown in commercial galleries and alternative spaces in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, and is included in collections at the High Museum in Atlanta and the West Collection in Oaks, Pennsylvania. He is an assistant professor who teaches drawing and painting at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Britton’s work has been included in Art in America, the Los Angeles Times, and New American Paintings. A recipient of the Chiaro Award in painting and an artist-in-residence awardee at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, Calif., he is a recipient of an artist fellowship from the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ballycastle, Ireland, and a J.B. Blunk Residency from the Lucid Art Foundation in Inverness, California.
Britton said he is inspired by experiences in which the present is marked by “intense but indeterminate sensations of beauty” that have been “mediated by the plasticity of memory, cognition, sensation, and future intentions.” likes to give those viewing his paintings the sense that they have “super powers.”
“By representing how memory is constructed and perceived, there’s an opportunity for a painting to show how the feeling of one’s location is actually always the feeling of multiple locations,” he said. “We make the present out of the sensed, residual, and formative.”