featured artist: Ben Pell
Drawing has long been a resource for me, a creative practice with which to loosely explore my current state of mind ‐ both professional and personal. More recently, photography, collage, and painting have provided new means to navigate transition and change in my life through mediums that are at once documentary and speculative.
about the artist
Bio: (b. 1974, USA)
Ben Pell is an American artist and architect based in New York City and Providence, RI. His work includes drawings, paintings, collages, and photography, exploring compositional qualities of layering, texture, and line.
Pell received his Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University (1997) and his Master of Architecture from the University of California at Los Angeles (2002). His training as an architect bridges a critical divide in the field between traditional modes of analog representation and the emergence of digital media. His work as an artist consequently draws on both of these approaches for technical and formal inspiration, from flat, graphic figures to built‐up, tactile surfaces.
In addition to his artistic and architectural practices, since 2003 Pell has taught architectural design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Syracuse University, and Yale University, and is currently on the faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design.
I have always wanted to believe in ghosts, fascinated by their enviable state of limbo between past and future. In the city and in nature, encounters with the ephemeral and the unexpected are proof to me that they exist: embodied as shadows, shapes, and textures, flitting across the surfaces of the world around us. My attraction to drawing and painting, including collage and small‐scale works, is a longing to see and trace these ghosts, to capture their presence through mediums that make them visible, alive, and full of expression. Speculating on their stories — implied by what is and what isn’t depicted through the composition of the canvas or the page and through gestures of line and figure — I think of these works as being observational and in the moment. Like the ghosts they try to engage, they exist firmly in the present.