Exhibition | Ben Pritchard: Ecstatic Visions of the Day | Contemporary Art at Equity Gallery | New York | Art Week

Ben Pritchard: Ecstatic Visions of the Day

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Date: 
Thursday, 14 January 2021 to Saturday, 6 February 2021
Opening: 
Thursday, 14 January 2021 -
5:00pm to 8:00pm

Equity Gallery is pleased to present Ecstatic Visions of the Day, a solo exhibition featuring the latest series of artworks by Brooklyn based artist Ben Pritchard. Comprising an expansive collection of expressive oil paintings and ink drawings, all featured works were completed in 2020 during a period that has now become synonymous with flux and transition. Earlier this year, Pritchard departed the studio space he previously occupied and moved his artistic practices to a small outdoor enclave located in his backyard. While such a drastic change in environment would alter the resulting output of most artists, this is especially true for the paintings of Pritchard given their alchemic, meditative nature. Highly sensitive to situational surroundings, his artworks absorb, process, and project a blend of the imposed external circumstances, palpable physicality of paint and ink, and an intangible primal spiritual energy. These elements, already present in Pritchard’s previous body of work, are only further intensified, highlighted, and refined in his latest pieces

Pritchard functions as a medium, a conduit for channeling and synthesizing disparate components and manifesting them into a single visual entity. Instead of resisting the major changes created by his new outdoor surroundings and the many challenges they presented, he allowed himself to be guided by them, to bleed into and scaffold the very construction and composition of the artwork. Shifting daylight and unpredictable weather patterns became intrinsic to the process of artmaking. As waning natural light and limited visibility at night suddenly became a factor, painting became an exercise in timing, a race against an indifferent and unstoppable force. Pritchard turned this natural impediment into a collaborative relationship, using the time limitation to foster more improvisation. Protected by only a tarp as they dried, artworks would often bear the full brunt of the elements. Wind, downpours, and the morning frost would batter and reshape their surfaces. Other times, flora and fauna would intercede. Bird feed stipples the canvases of several of Pritchard’s latest paintings, sometimes immediately apparent and other times appearing as raised bumps originating from deep beneath the surface, heavily enrobed in paint. In either presentation, they further emphasize the weight of the brushstrokes and meticulous hand of the artist. Errant maple seeds and leaves permanently affixed themselves against the thick, robustly craggy layers of paint, asserting their presence and jutting out from the picture plane.

These seemingly chaotic encumbrances and unexpected intrusions meld seamlessly into Pritchard’s artwork. He eagerly welcomes their influence and they are incorporated into his paintings and drawings. This free-form, holistic approach to painting takes on a quasi-religious connotation through Pritchard’s handling of both media and form. His works are spontaneous transcendent experiences solidified — jubilant cries of an otherworldly, heavenly language synthesized into a visual manifestation. Brushy, bold geometric formations and organic figures are carved into the abundant coats of gritty, pigment-laden paint and rendered in a highly textural, haptic manner. Although abstract, these arrangements and patterns manage to be reminiscent of long-lost writing systems, prehistoric petroglyphs, and figurative depictions of landscapes, all at once. They encompass a multitude of messages and signifiers despite their initial guise of simplicity, both undecipherable yet viscerally recognizable on a subconscious level. Now, with the physical interference of an outside environment directly incorporated into these most recent works, Pritchard further expands the wide encompassing scope of existence he distills onto his canvases. Pritchard takes the discord and unpredictability of life, both significant and mundane, and manages to derive pure aesthetic harmony. The paintings and drawings consolidate the tumult of the world and the psyche within. Instead of rejecting these invasive elements, they are joyfully embraced as a source of inspiration and beauty. The aesthetic radiance, powerful euphoric energy, and humanity of the artwork are achieved through accepting rawness and leaving intact the tangible internal and external struggle of creating the work.

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Ben Pritchard was born in Detroit Michigan and studied painting and drawing at the New York Studio School. He graduated from the  Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2009. Ben lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

“I like to think that the direct honest daily practice of painting over time reflects both the cares and concerns of the deep self as well as an optimistic projection regarding concerns of the world. I believe that being with work over long periods reveals humanistic qualities in relation to the observer and is added to by the viewer. In this way art functions as both psychic nourishment and as a mirror to the self and the world. I think of painting as a quasi religious activity  involving the concept of the sacred. What this actually means and how it is represented is revealed piece by piece in the work. In this way I think that the subject of painting exists outside of language and is more involved with the unsayable experiential aspects of life and the world.”

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9314100020
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*In the interest of safeguarding our community members, Equity Gallery will be holding Priority Viewing Sessions for this exhibition on opening day. These sessions will be staggered over the course of several hours. Invited guests are requested to wear masks and follow NY social distancing protocol. Visitors must register via Eventbrite to attend.

 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ben-pritchard-ecstatic-visions-of-the-day-priority-viewing-sessions-tickets-135947042263

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245 Broome Street (cross is Orchard; MTA is Delancey)
New York, New York 10002
Metro Stop: F/M and/or Essex J/Z

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