Benjamin Klein
Glider Shifter Bender

October 6 – 20, 2018
Opening Saturday October 6 from 3 pm to 6 pm
Artist in attendance

65 George Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5A 4L8

Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain is pleased to present Benjamin Klein’s first solo exhibition of paintings in Toronto. These new works broaden the visual language and philosophical nature of Klein’s practice. In a description of Klein’s previous body of work, John Bentley Mays wrote:

“[Benjamin Klein’s] exhibition potently argues the case of another future for visual art, one radically open to fertilization by narrative and poetry, vision, philosophical reflection, feeling, and sensuous, embodied experience. … Klein’s artistic project itself is humane and wise. The work invites, and amply rewards, serious, deliberate attention of the sort that “hovers,” “noting mirrorings and correspondences, and not rushing to any conclusions.”

John Bentley Mays, “On certain paintings by Benjamin Klein” in Benjamin Klein: Generator, Centre des arts visuels Galerie McClure, Montréal, 2014, p.21

In the artist’s own words:

[…] In the most recent work, dislocations of space and perspective have become more pronounced, the cast of characters broader and more allusive, and the atmosphere more animistic and otherworldly. Previously the work was concerned to remain at least a potential representation of our world, but now has become something else. Freed to represent a magical, oneiric ecosystem, it has become an image of representation itself – which may or may not philosophically be the same as reality in the full sense. I have engaged with the notion of the afterlife or the spirit world; not the actual existent one (if it does exist) as we imagine it along cultural or personal lines, but a realized metaphor for it. To the extent that there is a difference between such a metaphor and such a reality, I paint a place where the mind or the soul, which themselves can be seen as metaphors to begin with, are the figures for which their content becomes the ground.

I want to catch – not capture, but catch – the moment/place when and where reality and fiction unravel and combine, when reality and unreality become and are the same thing, where the rules bend and finally break – a landscape that generates the uncanny sense that the viewer is both there, and has been there before – even though it is not a realistically possible place or occurrence. The characters I depict are like the paintings they inhabit – the paintings themselves are the major characters, and all the things depicted within can be seen as figures, i.e. trees, flowers and clouds are just as potentially “alive” as tortoises, cows, or bunnies. The whole painting is asked/made to function as an “eye” that sees the viewer metaphorically just as the viewer literally sees the painting, much like a dramatic character that breaches the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience. […]

The Gallery thanks SODEC for its support.

– BK

Benjamin Klein was born in Chicago and grew up in Montreal. Klein’s landscape paintings depict a colourful, shadowy, and ambiguous nocturnal world of uncertain proportions and materiality. Shifting constantly in psychological as well as physical dimensions, his world is populated by anthropomorphized, animal-like characters that interact and metamorphose in fragmented scenes, fraught with semiotic and symbolic potential. He holds a BFA from Concordia University in Studio Arts, and an MFA from the University of Guelph. In 2010 he was a finalist in the RBC’s National Painting Competition. He has exhibited across Canada, in the USA, the UK and Germany.

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