“How much monster, Duke’s Paintings ask us, are we willing to feel in ourselves, to accept, to affirm? What are the limits to which our egos restrict us, and what attractions and sensations liberate us from the cage of self? What aspirations and endeavors, Ben Duke’s paintings keep asking, lead beyond all compromises and reveal to us, finally what a body can think and do and feel.” — From Brian Kubarycz’s introductory essay to the catalogue entitled: Benjamin Duke 2001-2010: Ten years of Work with essays by Brian Kubarycz, and Su YuAnn, published by Garden City Publishing.
Benjamin Duke returns to exhibit in Louisville 11 months after presenting his painting “Louisville 2015: Full of Life, Now” (2015), to Metro Hall. He was Louisville’s first participant in a visiting artist initiative, introduced in 2015 as part of the Mayor’s Music & Art Series. The painting is on display in the Mayor’s Conference Room at Metro Hall.
Duke’s work takes our recognizable existence and twists it with pretzel logic. It is immediately accessible yet touches upon deeper currents: “In my paintings I ask myself “Is this the way the world is?’ I reshape and retool my painting experience to answer that question. But while the question begins with the world, it ends with the work itself: “Is this the way the world is in this work?”
The search is for the world in painting and painting in the world (painting worlds / painting’s world). Am I in the world or is the world in me? I allude to my life, to writers works, to imagery and it is my hope that this record of allusion conjures and creates the same. I am referring to text, theory, idea but I am also finding myself already there, looking out to see in.”
It wasn't a Dream, It was a Real Place, Duke’s new exhibit, will run December 16, 2016 through January 27, 2017 in University of Louisville’s Cressman Center for Visual Arts at 100 East Main Street. There will be an Artist’s Reception open to the public December 16 from 6 pm to 8 pm.
Duke is Associate Professor of painting at Michigan State University. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he received his Master of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art Hoffberger School of Painting. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions from Chicago to Taiwan. Duke has also been awarded international residencies at Bamboo Curtain Studios, The Kuandu Museum of Fine Art at Taipei National University of the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center.
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Education: BFA, University of Utah, Painting and Drawing Emphasis, 2002; MFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Hoffberger School of Painting, 2006.
Gallery Representative: Ann Nathan Gallery (Chicago), A Gallery (Salt Lake City)
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.