My previous post featured some work currently on display here in Portland, OR. In the gallery immediately next door (Froelick Gallery) is work by Benny Fountain. So there's twice the reason to head down there. The work is mostly, but not exclusively, night scenes. Most of it depicts scenes from the artist's kitchen. The location is clearly one of convenience. The subject matter is not what you see. The subject matter is seeing. I've always enjoyed impressionism as much as anyone, but it is hard these days to see the revolution that it was; An entirely new way of seeing, expressing light itself, how it shimmers and refracts and scatters about the world. But I have often felt that the soft diffused brushwork of the impressionist technique seemed least appropriate for bright sunny days when hard edges and precise clarity are so notable. Mornings and evenings always worked better. However, night... night is the time for impressionism. At night the boundaries between objects begin to blur in the shadows. Colors fade and bleed into one another and the mind struggles to put the pieces together in their proper order. Benny Fountain has carried these ideas forward to perfectly capture how the eye and the mind see in imperfect light. By doing so he evokes the joy of seeing, of looking and noticing that each time you look, things are a little bit different. His earlier work which demonstrated a mastery of color has given way to the muted tones of darkness, but the color is no less central. And the geometric configurations of his kitchen scenes provide a wonderful counterbalance to the loose gestural technique.
You can see more at the artist's website: www.bennyfountain.com