Benjamin Kress


May 13 - June 11, 2017


Untitled (Nelo), 2017, offset lithography on newsprint, 21 x 31.5 inches

The exhibition is comprised of four elements:

A detailed scale model of helper, turned into a miniature stage, is placed in the center of the space it represents.

A stop-motion animation video is installed in the model. Each frame is a photograph of a hybridized face. Traces remain of fashion models, Jesus, the Mona Lisa, and Buster Keaton among others. The video within the scale-model, set in the actual gallery, creates a hall of mirrors effect where the object of contemplation always retracts towards an ever smaller scale. The morphing faces, empty yet evocative, are artifacts and clues towards an ideal, fantasized, difficult to pin down self called Nelo.

A poster is printed with a photograph of the artist as Nelo within the helper model. Viewed on its own, it becomes unclear whether Nelo is a massive figure within a normal space, or a normal figure within a constrictively small space. Hanging opposite the video, the printed figure of Nelo becomes a viewer of the source imagery of their own making.

Eight small oil paintings line the walls, based on selected frames of the video, specters of a never quite resolved personhood. The distortions and colors generated by the processes of being morphed and refracted through lenses are further transformed through the hand-made distortions of observational painting.

Benjamin Kress is Brooklyn-based painter, sculptor, and mask-maker born on Halloween, 1976. He studied at The Cooper Union and Yale University School of Art, and is represented by Callicoon Fine Arts in New York City.
Instagram: Benjamin_Kress