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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

Benjamin Derlan

Benjamin Derlan

Artist Work

porta vitae (life gate)
2017
oil and acrylic on canvas
46 x 46 in
risus fabrica (smile device)
2017
oil and acrylic on canvas
46 x 46 in
mundus locus (clean room)
2017
oil and acrylic on canvas
46 x 46 in

Artist Information

County
Allegany County
Phone
2407278327
Artistic Category

Visual Arts

Artist Bio

My paintings are an investigation of bodily structure and movement through the study and abstraction of diagrams. To understand art is to understand that it is beyond our ability to transcend our sensory bounds. Therefore, when I paint I am intentionally and automatically abstracting from the reality I perceive. Painting is the cross product of observation and declaration; my work is a study of forms through the lens of my own autonomy. When the painting is defined by the schema of the subject, the expression of the painting itself is limited and so I strive to express more than the physical subject portrayed. Through the process of painting, I strive to express the union of thought, emotion, and sensation surrounding the body.

I choose a small section of the body which fascinates me.  I am abstracting small sections of a 1960s era anatomy chart in order to understand the power of image and its functions in a larger system. By focusing on a small detail of a reproduction of the human body, I am able to investigate the experience of painting. A 2x2 inch section of the anatomy reproductions becomes a 46x46 inch painting. Through decisions in scale, focus, color, and gesture, the painting becomes a representation of my sensory observation of the source image and a physical record of my corporeal experience. Each informs the other throughout the series, highlighting the relationship between interpretation and execution.

The canvases bring into focus things which we have never seen, but are inside of us working to keep us alive. They are part of us. The strokes I make are an expression of the size and movement of my own body. Indeed, the marks I make with my body are powered by the structures I am painting. The painting process becomes a system in which the structures I am painting function to keep me alive, sustaining myself and the artwork.