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Benjamin Cottam at VoltaNY 2009

Benjamin Cottam, Amy Winehouse 2, 2008,

Bartha Contemporary is delighted to announce Benjamin Cottam’s solo exhibition at VoltaNY the invitational solo-presentation art-fair coinciding with Armory New York from March 5 -8, 2009. The exhibition will showcase recent drawings and paintings as well as selected works from the ongoing ‘Dead Artists’ series. For the first time in Manhattan the show will feature the artist’s latest ‘landscape’ and ‘blue sky’ paintings.

VoltaNY is a unique curated show organized around a single theme, this year the theme of the fair is inspired by W.H. Auden book ‘The Age of Anxiety’, first published in 1947. Candidly reflecting on current global social and economic apprehensions. Cottam’s work harbors a distinct anxious undercurrent and it is within this broad context that the artist was invited to create a series of new works for this temporary exhibition.

Central to all of Cottam’s paintings and drawings is the human condition, often depicting a single human figure or face in a state of alarming uneasiness. Recent drawings of celebrities such as Amy Winehouse or Pete Dorothy, portray the outspoken self-destructive longing, which characterizes these enigmatic figures. The small-scale drawings are a logic progression to some of the artist’s previous series of silver- and gold-point drawings including the well know portraits of dead artists. ‘Dead Artists Series’ a predetermined shortlist of Cottam’s artistic favorites is almost complete. The drawings on show at VoltaNY are amongst the last remaining works available from this series.

At first minimal in appearance Cottam’s highly reflective black paintings slowly reveal their disguised contents. The initial discovery of a subject beyond the surface is replaced by a process, in which the viewer slowly uncovers a concealed painting. Layer for layer the eye jumping between the mirror image of once own reflection and the painted portrait beyond, an image is formed. It is this interplay between the forbidding appearance of the object, which encompasses a deliberate narcissism, and the mystically hidden painted human figure beyond appearing in a somewhat undeterminable state of despair to which we strangely immediately relate. Despite the fact that these works initially hide and in turn alienate the inherent subject matter it is the very process of rendering the image, which makes these paintings truly engaging.

In keeping with the artist’s style most recently Cottam has further alienated the subject of his paintings, by concealing it all together. Despite the fact that artist is no longer ‘hiding’ the subject, these works highlight the overlooked traces of its very existence. His sublimely beautiful ‘Blue Sky’ paintings, contain what may be read as simple cloud lines, often painted in a single brushstroke. At first these scenes appear like small sections taken from paintings by a French master such as Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875), however these works depict tear gas canisters as they are thrown through the air into protesting crowds. These latest works continue in the artist’s convention but further include a deliberate mannerism and contemporary socio political critique.

For further information or to receive high-resolution images of works exhibited at VoltaNY please contact the gallery or visit www.barthacontemporary.com/volta09/

Künstlerbiographie(n) und Kunstwerke:
Benjamin Cottam

Veranstaltungen zum Bericht:
Benjamin Cottam at VoltaNY 2009




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