News


25 / April / 2017 (for 6 weeks)

Sid Motion Gallery: Group Show

I am very pleased to say that Sid has invited me to be one of four photography-based artists that she would like to expose at her gallery - Sid Motion Gallery - The theme is loosely tied to Constructed Landscapes, and I expect will manifest an interesting diaspora of viewpoints from the four of us.

Keep an eye on the gallery website for details of the opening - almost certainly the 25th April - and I hope to see you there. If you should miss that, or want to come back for another visit, the show will be hanging for a further 6 weeks from that date.

27-29 / Jan / 2017

Paris Show: Infinite + Infinite II

Last Thursday, I had a successful show in Paris, at my artist friend, H Craig Hanna's studio.

Buyers included Cyrille Cohen, the vice-President of SOTHEBY's France, in charge of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art,  and Jean Noel de Soye, the Director of In Camera, one of Paris's more influential photographic galleries. Further buyers included established Paris-based collectors.

As satisfying as it was fun. Thank you to all those that came along.

A few photos of the "après-vernissage" and the images in situ....

..."L'espace fermé des coins de Ben Nason est une ouverture magique sur l'imaginaire"... JN de Soye,  In Camera

...

Ben Nason, Infinite.

26 January - 29 January 2017

Atelier Hanna, 187 rue Saint Jacques, 75005 Paris


My own, my human mind, which passively

Now renders and receives fast influencings,

Holding an unremitting interchange

With the clear universe of things around.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Mont Blanc


The human mind is indeed a nimble thing. It knows that there is a real world and a theoretical one. It knows that there are other things than itself and its thoughts and ideas. It can even surmise the existence of still other things that are not exactly things, per se, but merely the images of things, and it knows full well that these, too, while not exactly things, per se, are yet still somewhat, well, thingy. But certain gymnastic feats are well beyond its powers. For example, it cannot not think of things without thinking of them. To imagine what this looks like, think here of the poor jury in a murder trial, instructed to disregard a piece of hearsay or purge the record of what a witness said. Exorcisms of this ilk are beyond its ken. It is like the game Leo Tolstoy’s older brother, Nikolai, is said to have played with his siblings, requiring that they “stand in a corner and not think of the white bear.” To think of such a beast, or not think of it, is to assure at least some fleeting form of its existence.

Such game is afoot in Ben Nason’s latest photographic series. Here, like the Tolstoy boys, viewers are made to stand in corners, not just to see or not see white bears, or the elephants in the rest of the room, or to be somehow warmed by the corners’ 90 degrees, but to see in them, and not see in them, in each pale intersection of constructed rectilinearity, the loci, confluence and continuum of much, if not all, of everything that is nature and all that is human.

In an essay on Vermeer, John Berger writes that the fundamental difference between Vermeer and other Dutch interior painters is how “everything in every interior he paints refers to events outside the room.” Especially, it would seem, in the corners: “The function of the closed-in corner of the room is to remind us of the infinite.” The same can be said of a Nason corner. Each, in its seemingly infinite emptiness, contains a multitude. Can we see this multitude, know it, understand it? An age-old paradox: Without understanding the whole, we cant understand the individual parts, and without understanding the parts, we cannot understand the whole.

As Zola wrote of Delacroix and Courbet, “Une oeuvre d'art est un coin de la nature, vue a travers un tempérament,” and one thinks here, as one does when gazing into any Nason coin, of that ravishing co(i)n of Courbet’s, l’Origine du monde, where line recedes into flesh, into the vanishing point of the womb. How we react to this vanishing point speaks volumes. Nason’s peculiar tempérament articulates these volumes in each framed corner on the wall, as a series of framing questions that he puts to the viewer, and which in turn put art—its thingness, so to speak, as substance with properties, bearer of traits, manifold of perceptions or formed matter—in the very centre of the room: “What does a corner mean to you? What do you see when you look at a corner? Does a corner represent a place of safety, from which you have a clear perspective? Does it create the boundary between you and your uncharted fears of what happens beyond, in the unknown, the unknowable? Have you been forced into a corner, as a last place of refuge? As a mental exercise, when you look at a clean corner in a room for long enough, are you able to envisage it as an outward pointing corner, i.e. pointing in towards you, rather than the internal corner that it is? Is a corner a place for contemplation? Or is it just a corner?”

Just a corner? The answer is just around it.

Chris Mooney

February 2017

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