Karl Benjamin The Late Paintings

Karl Benjamin The Late Paintings

September 6 - October 25, 2014


   Karl Benjamin,  #4,  1995, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches


Karl Benjamin, #4, 1995, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

Press Release:

Mauve and lavender intersect a cube of grey and slide into shadow.  A yellow stolen from marigolds leans into a neon-inflected green.  Sequences of irregularly sized slices of butterscotch, orange, pink, taupe and red-rose red appear to tilt into a jazzy abstraction of a city skyline or perhaps a hillside or perhaps simply an artist’s improvisation based on light itself.

 Since the inception of his painting career, Karl Benjamin used his canvases to create a remarkable symmetry of form and content.  Compositions from early series’ feature meticulously organized shapes with razor sharp edges and glimmering surfaces.  But it was Benjamin’s use of color that fueled the emotional content of the paintings.  As the artist noted in interview, “Color is the subject matter of painting. Regardless of style or content, color is the material from which paintings are made.”

 In his late paintings, executed between 1986 and 1995, Benjamin focused on an exploration of color values.  The surfaces still shine.  Shapes are sexy.  The visual rhythms are jazzy as ever.  But the accomplishment of color is unprecedented.  Truly, purely alive.

 Karl Benjamin is one of the ‘founding fathers’ of West Coast Hard Edge painting, featured in the landmark ‘Four Abstract Classicists’ at LACMA in 1959.  His work is included in numerous museum collections as well as a number of important public and private collections.  Benjamin was featured in the Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time, exhibited here in LA and then at the Martin Gropius in Berlin.  A highly respected teacher, Benjamin was a Professor Emeritus at Pomona College.

 Louis Stern Fine Arts is the exclusive representative of the estate of Karl Benjamin.