Erik Benson: Eminent Domain

Local IQ  |  Sarah Wintermute  |  Published April 7, 2011

Erik Benson’s dystopian and romantic artwork of layered acrylic on canvas has been labeled as both descriptive of the urban beauty and reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints.  Benson’s stark graphic interpretations of urban reality are formulated on glass tables, where he spreads thin layers of acrylic paint, allows the paint to dry, then cuts out shapes with an X-Acto knife.  He then composes his images in a collage-style, layering the shapes into arresting portrayals of urban landscapes.  Benson’s art focuses on the everyday scenery of metropolitan life, albeit one that is void of humanity.  Though he is careful to take into account forms of the natural world as part of his overall picture, the artist locks in on textures drawn from simple high rise structures, grimly graffitied buildings or other identifiable aspects commonly found in modern cities.

The New Yorker has described Benson’s style as one “In which old-fashioned color-field abstraction merges with dystopic, Pop-ish interest in the junky emptiness of highway on-ramps, strip malls and corporate offices…The composition manage to express humor, loathing and curiosity all at once.”

Eight Modern will feature seven works from Benson, a Detroit-born artist who currently resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.