Ben Skinner | Colouring Outside and Reading Between
Ben Skinner's work is an exploration of material across a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, installation and text. Utilizing art materials like pencil crayons, coloured paper or the pantone colour system, as in 1000 Piece Pantone Puzzle (2014), a dazzling array of hues pulls the viewer in, evoking emotions of desire and nostalgia through an eye-candy array of visual stimulus. Skinner's techniques range from the antiquated (gold leaf) to the new school (computer cut vinyl, UV flatbed digital printing), from high brow (oil painting) to low brow (paint by numbers). His keen eye for finish borders on obsessive, resulting in highly polished works with a quasi-fetish quality.
Language and meaning is just as important to the work, however, with witty and often ironic statements pointing to the ambiguity of words to communicate ideas across varying contexts and situations.
Same Same (2014) is a ongoing series of brick sets made by pouring plaster loosely mixed with pigment into molds with recessed lettering. The swirled, mixed pastel sculptures are presented in pairs with common double-word phrases such as BYE BYE, KNOCK KNOCK and THERE THERE. Stacking the bricks on top of one another creates a playful echo between the words that elicits new meaning from the simple combinations.
Skinner's work often crosses into the public domain, blurring the distinction between different viewing publics and modes of communication, from high art to advertising. For the current exhibition, the artist will create a site-specific window display of infinity mirrors with shifting colour gradients that react to the changing vantage point of the passerby on the street.
Ben Skinner graduated with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax in 2000, and with an MFA in Art & Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003, where he was the recipient of the Visiting Artist Program Fellowship Award. Ben lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.