Installation image of three paintings DKG 4, 2024

Artist Benjamin Pritchard opened a solo exhibition, Nature Worship, comprised of paintings at the David Klein Gallery on March 23, that will run through May 4, 2024. The thick oil paint in these mostly monochromatic compositions with heavy line work, either dark or light backgrounds, are Expressionistic Abstractions with attention paid to the structure by working in multiple layers of color that seek to find the balance and substance in each canvas.

Prichard grew up in Franklin, Michigan, and set voyage to grad school in London, earning his MFA from the Royal Academy of Arts to time spent on the West Coast, ending up in Brooklyn, N.Y., only to return home to a small studio space that seemed to nurture and find answers.

He says, “The irony is that I left for so long to find a solution or an answer… And then, of course, I come back, and here it is. It’s always been right here.”

Benjamin Prichard, Light Years, 108×132″, Oil on Canvas, All images courtesy of DKG

It is easy to say the painting that dominates the exhibition is Light Years. This large (108 x 132”) diptych does so with its scale. The orange and red circular organic motifs place themselves throughout this roadmap of lines and shapes. The feel of these designs can be described as a field of organic Petroglyphs (not figurative but more plant-like) that meander space informally. If only all these paintings were larger in scale, the power and influence would follow.

Benjamin Pritchard, Structure/Surface, 36×30″, Oil on Canvas.

One of the most successful smaller paintings (36×30”) is Structure/Surface, where Prichard divides the rectangle with a white line. Here, the artist lays down an attractive grid over a black horizontal field of brush strokes.

Benjamin Pritchard, Arboreal, 48×36″, Oil on Canvas

The painting Arboreal (48×36″) pulls on the heartstrings from the sky in The Starry Night by Van Gogh, using an Ellipse shape instead of circles. However, color and abstract expressionism are present in both. The spirit of Van Gogh lives in the sky, while the spirit in Arboreal lives in the trees.

In a statement from New York Artist Equity, he says, “I like to think that the direct, honest daily practice of painting over time reflects both the cares and concerns of the deep self and an optimistic projection regarding concerns of the world. I believe that being with work over long periods reveals humanistic qualities in relation to the observer and is added to by the viewer. In this way, art functions as both psychic nourishment and as a mirror to the self and the world. I think of painting as a quasi-religious activity involving the concept of the sacred. What this actually means and how it is represented is revealed piece by piece in the work. In this way, I think that the subject of painting exists outside of language and is more involved with the unsayable experiential aspects of life and the world.”

Artist Benjamin Pritchard at the home studio

Benjamin Pritchard is a Brooklyn-based artist originally from Detroit. He has had solo exhibitions at Daniel Weinberg Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), John Davis Gallery (Hudson, NY), and Life on Mars (Brooklyn, NY). The artist earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the Royal Academy of Arts, London. He attended the New York Studio School from 1994-1996. Ben Pritchard lives and works in Detroit and Brooklyn.

Benjamin Prichard’s Nature Worship at the David Klein Gallery on March 23 will run through May 4, 2024.