Group Show: Artificial Realities

Image: Eric Benson, Liars (Talking Skulls), acrylic on canvas over panel, 2006 / ©Eric Benson

Image: Eric Benson, Liars (Talking Skulls), acrylic on canvas over panel, 2006 / ©Eric Benson

Press Release / February 20 - March 28, 2009

Eric Benson
Jan Dunning
Leigh Tarantino

BLACK & WHITE GALLERY is proud to present “Artificial Realities” from February 20th through March 28th, 2009. This exhibition brings together three engaging contemporary artists whose works although executed in highly individual and very distinctive manners convey common interest in exploring the relationships between built and natural environments.

Artificial Realities refers to connection between the built environment and the primary properties of living structure. As human beings came to master their natural environment, they began to extend their designs beyond the physical limits imposed by form and materials. Unable to rise above human existence, yet still compelled by the need to overcome the limitations of their materiality, built structures have developed independently of their natural environments and often translate into artificial and abstract expression of man's disconnected philosophical and ideological meditations. 

Erik Benson’s paintings absorb the buildings, environment and social nuances of a locale. Benson builds his paintings by pouring acrylic paint onto sheets of glass. Once the shapes have solidified and acquired elasticity, they are peeled off and collaged into larger compositions. These collaged constructions create a certain mimetic relationship between the images depicted and the processes in which they are made; (primarily notions of production, pre- fabrication, modularity and design).

Erik Benson was born in Detroit, MI and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He was trained at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (BFA) and Rhode Island School of Design (MFA).

Jan Dunning’s photographs made with a pinhole camera surprise by the strange and surreal atmosphere they convey. Sharply defined, almost sculptural, they show empty domestic spaces appearing as relics of a past human civilization populated by natural vegetation and devoid of any human traces.

Jan Dunning was born in Stockton on Tees and lives and works in London, UK. She was trained at the Exeter University and Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, UK.

Leigh Tarentino chooses buildings, bridges, tracks, power lines and other attributes of American built landscape as motifs for her paintings and works on paper. Through the elaborate process of constructing a synthetic composite of different views and transforming them into intricate symmetrical patterns along a single axis, Tarentino adorns these banal places with a luminous aura and creates an eerie, fascinating atmosphere.

Leigh Tarentino was born in Albany NY and trained at the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA) and Rhode Island School of Design (MFA).