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#3, 1973
1973
oil on canvas
51 × 68 inches
Karl Benjamin: (Mostly) Random Rectangles

On Saturday, July 14, Brian Gross Fine Art opens a solo exhibition of paintings by Southern California painter Karl Benjamin. The reception will take place from 1:00 - 4:00 PM, in conjunction with San Francisco Art Dealers Association Summer Afternoon Art Walk. One of the West Coast’s most important abstract painters, Benjamin is internationally known for his geometric, color paintings with meticulously finished surfaces. In his first solo exhibition with Brian Gross, Karl Benjamin will present a series of paintings on canvas created between 1971-1974. Benjamin’s works are brilliantly painted large scale compositions rendered in matte color.

Entitled (Mostly) Random Rectangles, the exhibition exemplifies the artist’s concern with systematically dividing pictorial space through color and well defined form. Richly painted, the canvases from this period are intuitively divided in rectilinear grid-like patterns. In brilliant shades of magenta, orange, blue, green, yellow, and red, rectangular shapes seem to pulsate, emerge and recede from their background giving each composition a distinct optical presence. Intense and intricate, the colorful rectangular arrangements are a dynamic interplay of color and geometry.

In 1959, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art organized a travel exhibition entitled “Four Abstract Classicists” presenting works by four Los Angeles artists: Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederich Hammersley and John McLaughlin. The show’s curator coined the term hard edge painting, noting their similar stylistic concerns. Their works are characterized by clean edged, interlocking geometrical forms rendered in flat color that occupy the entire picture plane.

Karl Benjamin was born in Chicago, IL in 1925. He received his B.A. from University of Redlands, Redlands, CA and his M.F.A. at Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, CA. He has been awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Visual Arts both in 1989 and 1983. His work has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions and is included in the public collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, Israel; Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Seattle Art Museum, WA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY among others. For many years, Benjamin taught painting at Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University, and currently is Professor Emeritus at Pomona College. He lives and works in Claremont, CA.




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