BEN DURHAM: Found Graffiti

EXHIBIT: Ben Durham: Found Graffiti
DATES ON VIEW: February 4 – March 17, 2012
OPENING RECEPTION: February 4, 2012, 4-7pm
LOCATION: Country Club, 835 W. Washington Blvd, 2nd Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60607

Words: Aimstar
Images: Courtesy of Ben Durham & Country Club Projects

In his first solo exhibition with Chicago’s Country Club gallery in collaboration with the Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Ben Durham unveils Found Graffiti. In what seems like an ingenious experimental attempt to encapsulate a neighborhood’s general I.D. by way of the personalities and the graffiti that inhabit the areas that sit within its borders, it feels rather absurd that no other artist has thought to try what Durham excels at (Are we missing someone?). Featuring Durham’s latest paper-based works and stained glass installations, in which he literally “maps” out territories using graf-styled etchings embedded in portraits, Found Graffiti is about the “experience of place…embedded within us.”

Country Club best describes the process by which Durham comes about his Graffiti Map body of paper works: “Durham has collected found graffiti imagery and transcribed them with graphite and ink onto the handmade paper surface. Layered to the point of nearly complete visual saturation and unintelligibility, the drawn graffiti loosely forms the silhouette of a portrait. Related locations from standard city maps are then projected onto the drawing and cut with a razor, creating puzzle-like pieces. Those resulting pieces are spaced slightly apart to create a secondary negative image, the visible white of the matte revealing the grid of streets and neighborhoods.”

The unconscious journey between identity and space continues with his stained glass pieces, but this time reserved to the unspoken and most times, utterly anonymous, “texts” found in public bathroom stalls. This too is graffiti, if we consider its literal meaning; and Durham sheds light on their underlying subtexts and the relationships spawned from (or revealed by) these markings. Taking it one step further though, “By aestheticizing and amplifying bathroom stall graffiti into large-scale stained glass installations, Durham highlights both this similarity as well as the many conflicts inherent between the two forms. It is not just a subversion of the stained glass form but an attempt to link its beauty and tradition with the people and places revealed in our culture by their graffiti.”

Ben Durham’s Found Graffiti exhibit will be on view at Country Club in Chicago from February 4th until March 17, 2012. For more information, visit their site HERE.

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