Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A dog's response to the work of Benjamin King.

Icicles by Benjamin King
acrylic on canvas, 2008

Back in May I threw a birthday party for Eric that also turned into a little art extravaganza that we called Physicist's Birthday. I emptied my studio space and had some painter and photographer friends hang work, and some video artists showed on monitors and projections around the apartment.

One of my friends from graduate school, Benjamin King (who has been painting cold and mysterious landscapes that I love, and who recently co-founded HKJB), participated in this event. He brought a beautiful black and dark grey painting that makes me think of desert formations at night, or maybe a lunar landscape. Because we have both been busy, his painting is still hanging in my studio. It has been nice having it here.

I've had a lot of folks swing by and ask about his painting, but I want to tell you about my dog's reaction to this strange and lovely work. A few days ago Lucius stepped into the studio and gazed at Ben's work for several long moments. After these pregnant moments of looking, he threw up his entire breakfast in one horrific heave. Lucius then ATE the whole pile of barf and afterward lay peacefully in the studio beneath the painting and slept. In the dreams that followed, his feet kicked in a way that suggested the pursuit of a snowshoe hare.

What does this mean? I think Lucius had a deeply emotional (perhaps mystical) response to Ben's work. If only he could write a review, I think he'd give Jerry Saltz a run for his money as a critic.

You can see Benjamin King's work at the Painting Center (52 Greene St, 2nd Floor) in a show called 25 Painters Under 35, which opens this Thursday, June 25, 6:00-8:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

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