Inheritance by Ben Pines
“This exhibition of 22 paintings, made from 2019-2024, invites consideration of our natural inheritance, on which we depend for our lives, and on our cultural inheritances, through which we explore our humanity. The works in my Sky Paintings series record my study of movement in nature focusing on the sky. The sky is identified as a place of ancestral dwelling in a number of religious traditions, connecting it with inheritance in terms of both nature and culture. My Neoclassical Suite portraits are painted in a pictorial language inherited from European painting, which was inherited from ancient Rome, which was inherited from Axial Age Greece. I invite everyone to consider and enjoy this cultural inheritance.
The Sky Paintings exhibited here were painted from imagination and memory. In making them I started by brushing on paint based on how I felt in the moment. As I worked I would find cloud forms and atmospheric effects in the brush marks, reworking the paintings over multiple studio sessions. As a longtime portrait artist, concerned with precision of anatomical form, I enjoyed working on the Sky Paintings in this experimental way.
My Neoclassical Suite paintings are based on nineteenth-century portrait sculptures. Paintings in this series started from studying sculptures in photos that I took in Copenhagen and Paris, and evolved as feelings and memories entered the process, affecting the color and design, and the emotional content of each of the paintings.
I was driven to make these paintings by my desire to remember and share my experiences visiting museums in Europe. Museums and art galleries function as repositories of cultural inheritance and play an important role in furthering a vision of public life that I very much appreciate.”
Ben Pines’ paintings explore form, light, and rhythm of the natural world, and the precision of anatomical form, within the process of considering emotional states. Ben’s work portrays his experience of embodiment and thought.
Ben was born in 1966 in Washington, D.C., grew up in the Philadelphia area, and completed art studies at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and Indiana University Bloomington. At the Pennsylvania Academy, Ben studied with the contemporary narrative realist painter Bo Bartlett, and was influenced by Bartlett’s conceptual and technical practice. Ben’s work is also influenced by the work of both his and Bartlett’s teacher at the Academy, Sidney Goodman, a Philadelphia-based painter and draftsman who, in the 1960’s, was a pioneer in the reemergence of figurative realist art.
Since 2017 Ben has been teaching painting and 2D design at Ivy Tech Community College and IU Bloomington, sharing his passion for the creative process and informed technical advice with his students.
- Jeff Grant