Preview: Erik Benson

THE Magazine  |  By Kathryn Davis  |  Published April 2011

Erik Benson’s paintings are quiet commentaries on our architectural world.  His works critique uniformity and gentrification in American neighborhoods.  In an ArtNews review, Christopher French observed, “Erik Benson represents a persuasive, dystopian take on the American landscape.  In his paintings on canvas and paper, the normalcy of suburban views dominated by edifices of glass and steel is rudely interrupted-marked by decay or overwhelmed by ominous emissions suggestive of pollution or explosion.”  Benson employs a flat, shape-based technique to deliver an atmospheric feeling of loneliness.  Using an X-ACTO knife, he cuts shapes out of acrylic paint, which he has allowed to dry on sheets of glass.  He then “builds” his paintings with these shapes, layering them on canvas or paper in a manner that mimics the construction of an actual building.  Benson developed his distinctive technique after he became allergic to oil paints during graduate school and was forced to experiment with the more plastic quality of acrylics.  He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, surrounded by the buildings that inspire his work.