3 February 2010

PARATAXIS two

Ben Carey is a Sydney-based artist working across disciplines including photography, painting and collage. He holds a business degree from the University of Newcastle and is currently undertaking a BFA at the College of Fine Art (University of New South Wales), majoring in Photomedia. Two of Ben's oil paintings of approximately 700 x 700mm in size were exhibited in parataxis in October 2009.


I met Ben through a friend early last year at a club in Sydney. On first impression he interested me very little but somehow (possibly leaning over a packed balcony smoking a cigarette) we got talking and I realised he was thinking so much more and so much deeper than his angel face and blond hair give him credit for. I think we spoke of death - suicide and funerals and other morbidities. I am always taken by people who aren't afraid to discuss these sorts of things on the first meeting, so I went out of that conversation convinced not only of having met someone fascinating but also painfully aware of my own tragic, misguided habit of surmising people before I even speak to them.


Given our conversation that night, it is unsurprising that Ben's paintings are what even he describes as 'pretty morose'. Predominantly black and painted heavy-handedly with trickles of paint that seem to me barely-disguised analogies to blood, these works seem to visually pre-empt a horrific reading before one has a chance to consider what they are 'about'. Kind of like a horror film - you know it will end in death before you press 'play'. And I think, basically, that's probably what Ben is trying to say in these paintings: It all ends in darkness. I don't read that as necessarily morbid or nihilistic, perhaps - particularly considering Ben's fetish for Russian literature - realistically existential.


In the context of parataxis, Ben's works were undoubtedly the darkest presence. They perhaps added a certain dissonance to the space, not only because their medium is relatively 'traditional' (oil on canvas), but because thematically they could seem very removed from much of the other work. Yet it was for these reasons that I thought it important to include them. I think I was attempting to find 'commonality in the chaos' and I think the inclusion of these works, their darkness, their removedness, helped to simultaneously reveal a mutual dissonance and an experienced mutuality in the exposition. What I think is a parataxis.

Stay tuned for more parataxis works.

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