In the Studio: Ben Weiner
Just around the corner from P.S.1 in Long Island City, Queens, is the apartment and studio of New York-based artist Ben Weiner, whose painterly interests in still lifes have recently given way to an exciting collection of stop-motion videos, which appear—and are constructed—like moving paintings.
For years, Weiner's works have been composed of rich and organic formal qualities, often capturing light through manmade chemicals—effectively making the unnatural natural through seemingly abstracted compositions that fluctuate between different modes of experience.
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/13005988 w=500&h=400]
Clip from [H2O(l) H2O(g)], (C6H9NO)n, C3H8O2, C28H20N2Na2O8S2, 2010 | Video on loop, displayed on 26.5 x 40.5 x 4.5 inch screen; hair gel evaporating and reconstituting
His new body of work, exhibited this past month in "Material and Illusion," his solo show at Mark Moore Gallery in Santa Monica, includes videos and paintings inspired by the physical properties of several artificial products, including deodorant, formaldehyde, and high fructose corn syrup. Although his videos contain moving images, this contemporary still life painter continues to work with still objects. His stop-motion videos are composed of thousands of photographs (some taken every 30 seconds for four days) of substances that appear motionless, surprisingly in keeping with his existing painting practice.
"When I paint, I begin by setting up a still life and photographing objects extensively," Weiner tells me in his apartment. "Then the composition tends to be either based on one or a collage of several photographic images. With my videos—instead of incorporating them into a composition, I'm taking many, many more photographs and stitching them into a narrative."
C3H8O2, H2O, NaC18H36O2, C9H10O2, C28H20N2Na2O8S2, 2010 | Oil on linen, 28 x 42 inches
"I think that conceptually it's very much about still life and the relationship between a painter and an object," the artist explains, "and observing that object; distilling that image after several hours of observation."
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/13010864 w=500&h=400]
Clip from Na(aq) + C5H8NO(aq) ® NaC5H8NO4(s), 2010 | Video on loop, displayed on 26.5 x 40.5 x 4.5 inch screen; monosodium glutamate (MSG) crystallizing
Ben Weiner was first featured in New American Paintings Edition #68 in 2005, juried by Nicholas Baume, former Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), now the Director and Chief Curator of the Public Art Fund in New York. Weiner is represented by Mark Moore Gallery.