When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Search for an Artist on this blog (or cut and paste from the list at the bottom of this page)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Benjamin Topf

untitled  100 x 116cm  2012

"Family 3"  70 x 100cm  2011

"Family 6"  100 x 115cm  2012

"Family 9"  80 x 60cm  2012

"Dinner"  50 x 57cm  2011


I came across this artist's Flickr page today. There is no reference to a website, or galleries, or any biographical information. Many of his paintings are titled in Chinese so I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the artist lives in China. None of that much matters though. What matters is the art.
A quick glance through the images marked as favorites on his page reveals that the artist is working from random family photographs culled either from Flickr or other sources. One could easily have guessed this just by looking at the paintings themselves. He wouldn't be the first artist to work from this kind of material. But he brings to bear a nice stylization that enhances the impact of the subject matter. The simple shapes and colors and the flattening effect of direct lighting combine with some subtle modeling in key areas to give the images a feeling of simultaneous realism and artificiality. This combination of the genuine and the artificial, not to mention a carefully balanced tension between humor and banality, between warmth and distance, is what makes these paintings true. It is exactly these kinds of tensions that give family dynamics such a curiously frustrating hold on us. Whether the particular setting in these images is foreign or familiar we know each and every one of these people. They're us.
click here to look through the rest of his photostream on flickr.

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