Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Last Friday

I mentioned Ben Smith's exhibit at the Twenty21 Gallery in a post last week and Friday evening we went to the opening which was one of a number taking place as part of the First Thursday monthly event. 

Ben's show is a retrospective and is composed of two extremes - his exquisite drawings and his massive wood-cuts. I like drawings, small scale stuff that can be handled, taken off the wall to see how the graphite lays on the paper and ... well, just plain old savored and salivated over. When the mood takes me I draw in silverpoint on rough watercolor paper, but that's a whole other conversation.

An exception to my liking of drawings and small scale art is my love of wall-filling 18th and 19th century history painting - and that is a coming blog post.  Above is a large scale wood-cut of Orpheus by Ben Smith and the minute I met Orpheus I fell. For me this wood-cut has references to neo-classicism, of Henry Moore, of Graham Sutherland, even Cocteau. I have the exact place for it but, alas, not the agreement that would have it hanging in the library. 

Below, the artist, Benjamin Smith, a gentleman and a scholar.

What did I buy? See below. Ben considers it to be his best drawing and when I asked why he replied that he'd kept it for years. 

Dr. Faustus ... at the moment when the imp appears and begins to destroy his life's work. 

I saw this at the framer's, the wonderful Caroline Budd, and knew I had to have it. The propensity for wanting things is a diabolical impulse that is mostly if one is not to go bankrupt to be ignored. There are times when acting on that impulse pays off and my buying Dr. Faustus is one of them. This is the second Ben Smith drawing we now own - the other entitled Death Cautioning Mirth and I'm still thinking what that means.


  1. I hope Mr. Smith's work will still be there for July's 1st Thursday.

  2. How wonderful! I share your love of the wall filling art, and that Orpheus is just phenomenal. Would kill to have it hanging over my sofa.

  3. Laura, et al, I too am guilty of covetousness but what else drives the economy?