Ben Evans Presents "KINK" Exhibit
New York-based contemporary artist, Ben Evans presents his latest body of work entitled, 'KINK' at Guy Hepner gallery in association with The TAX Collection. Showing now through to mid-March, this collection is all about exploration of the familiar - looking at the relationship between solitude, independence, and the spaces we inhabit.
The main inspirations I’ve been taking from are interiors that are familiar to me. I have a really deep connection with spaces and the way that humans interact inside a home...the figures are meant to embody the viewer and stand as something we can see in all of us.
Where did you study?
After I left North Carolina in 2013, I went on to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where I concentrated in drawing.
How would you describe your style? What does it signify?
I don’t always like to refer to aesthetics in my work as a style. I find it a bit limiting and pigeon-holed in a sense. I think that the imagery I’m currently working in is constantly evolving and becoming something of its own every day. The current body of work represents a safe space in a lot of ways. The overtly cartoon-like imagery is something that, for me, bridges gaps of nostalgia and memory. These figures can be “anyone" and their bodies are meant to not be gendered but exist as a queer exploration of my own self.
Which artists have shaped your career?
My textbook answer for this question is always Peter Saul. I remember feeling incredibly excited and inspired when I first saw his work in person. For me, he is someone that has worked in such a focused aesthetic for so that has allowed for him to grow and change within his common imagery. I also look at a lot of young painter/drawers like Louis Fratino and Rebecca Morgan.
Who/what has had the biggest impact on your work?
I think my changing environment has had the biggest impact on my work. Once I made the move from North Carolina to New York it really put things in perspective about how I assimilated and made conscious decisions regarding making art and where my art stood on a global scale. I was versed in so many new ways of thinking which really forced me to just continue to produce without letting my own hesitations and fears get in the way. This really allowed for me to build something that I was proud of and confident in without self-made limitations. I don't think this would've been a possibility if it wasn't for my total reboot when I moved.
Tell us about your upcoming exhibition, ‘Kink'...
It is a collection of works I’ve done over the past year. To me, the whole show feels like an immersive dream-scape space that really engulfs the viewers. The pieces are ridiculous, ugly and explicit but also tender, gentle and beautiful.
Do you find peace in solitude?
For sure. The only way for me to get to a place where I’m happy with the end result is to create in an isolated place.
When did you start to prepare for it?
The last six months have been crunch time so I’ve been working pretty much non stop since then. But the works being shown at Kink began over a year ago.
How has your work evolved?
I guess a common thread throughout all my work thus far is the figure. When I was much younger, I worked almost exclusively on large-scale hyper-realistic oil paintings. I think it was this knowledge and experience of making these labor-intensive works that allowed for me to arrive at the work I’m currently creating. I also think it was the hatred I had for making those 3-month long oil paintings that proved to me that that was the last thing I wanted to be doing. And now, making the antithesis of those works, I really feel like I want to be doing this stuff.