Benjamin Horns at Springsteen

Artist: Benjamin Horns

Exhibition title: some new social portraits

Venue: Springsteen, Baltimore, US

Date: March 18 – May 20, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Springsteen, Baltimore

Some early youtube videos, recorded in domestic spaces on cell phones or webcams, depict the reactions of people watching viral videos. With the ascendancy of social media, reaction videos have grown in popularity, and certain conventions and premises have been generated by their producers: they show individuals or groups watching and reacting to television episodes at home or in public gathering spaces.

Four new paintings on display borrow imagery from reaction videos. Scenes of private lives, these paintings portray figures in domestic spaces with personal decor and objects associated with leisure: a painting, a framed photograph, a pillow, cigarette rolling papers, wine glasses. Viewers are confronted by these outward gazing figures portrayed in exaggerated emotional states triggered by watching recent episodes of Game of Thrones and Mr. Robot. Despite the efforts of the artist at a realistic rendering, the content of the figures’ emotions remains unclear.

Glass blocks are commonly employed in the facades of buildings and rooms as a means of inhibiting voyeurism. A fifth painting, made from observation, shows an isolated glass block in front of an air conditioner in the artist’s studio. Multiple planes on display, which can partially be seen through, distort images of the private to the public and the public to the private.

Benjamin Horns, The Winds Of Winter, 2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”

Benjamin Horns, The Winds Of Winter, 2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”

Benjamin Horns, The Winds Of Winter, 2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”

Benjamin Horns, The Winds Of Winter, 2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”

Benjamin Horns, The Winds Of Winter, 2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”

Benjamin Horns, The Winds Of Winter, 2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”

Benjamin Horns, The Winds Of Winter, 2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”

Benjamin Horns, The Winds Of Winter, 2017, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”

Benjamin Horns, Glass Block in Front of an Air Conditioner, 2017, oil on canvas, 16.5” x 23.5”

Benjamin Horns, eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt, 2017, oil on canvas, 36” x 24”

Benjamin Horns, eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt, 2017, oil on canvas, 36” x 24”

Benjamin Horns, eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt, 2017, oil on canvas, 36” x 24”

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