Block title

Work Samples

Countertenor

Countertenor, 2014. Painted wood blocks, fabric, tape, and site-specific wall painting with line drawing.

Against Weather

Against Weather, 2016. Installation view.

Nesting Studies (#3)

Nesting Studies (#3). Wood, paint, tape, cable, felt, nails. 2015.

Skitter Index

Skitter Index, installation view. Paint, salvaged wood,wall drawing, studio ephemera 2015

Against Weather (2016)

Solo exhibition at VisArts Rockville (Common Ground Gallery), winter 2016. For this exhibition I created a temporary installation encompassing the entire gallery space. The work was developed improvisationally over a period of roughly three weeks using a wide range of construction detritus that I had collected over the past three years, including some found near the site in Rockville, MD.

Total dimensions of installation: 10 ft. (h) x 13 ft. (w) x 16 ft. (h)

Against Weather (2016) continued

Solo exhibition at VisArts Rockville (Common Ground Gallery), winter 2016. For this exhibition I created a temporary installation encompassing the entire gallery space. The work was developed improvisationally over a period of roughly three weeks using a wide range of construction detritus that I had collected over the past three years, including some found near the site in Rockville, MD.

Total dimensions of installation: 10 ft. (h) x 13 ft. (w) x 16 ft. (h)

Paintings 2014-2017

Recent small-format oil paintings. Since my current sculptural and installation work is almost entirely improvised on-site, painting and drawing constitute a major part of my studio practice.

Little drawings, 2014-2017

A selection from hundreds of small works on paper made over the past few years. In my studio practice as a whole, I see these as both an autonomous body of work and as thread connecting my disparate activities in painting and sculptural installation. Created improvisationally in short sessions with a variety of drawing media on irregular paper fragments, these generally range between 4 in. x 3 in. and 9 in. x 6 in.

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    gouache and water-soluble graphite on paper
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    water-soluble graphite on paper
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    watercolor and graphite on paper
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    ink and paint on paper
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    water-soluble graphite on paper
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    gouache and water-soluble graphite on paper
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    graphite and watercolor on paper
  • S7.jpg

    ink and gouache on paper
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    ink and paint on paper
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    water-soluble graphite and spray enamel on paper

Sculpture/Installation 2015

Installation work made with salvaged materials and studio ephemera for exhibitions in 2015-2016.

My artistic practice is a hybrid of drawing, object manipulation, and site-responsive construction. Through these overlapping activities I engage with a variety of salvaged materials. I choose to work with things that are marked or shaped by prior use—contractors’ trash, unfinished drawings, detritus found on walks, leavings of other people’s projects. These materials are minimally modified in the studio before they are brought to the exhibition space, where relationships between fragmentary components are developed on-site through intuitive arrangement and re-orientation.

The objects that populate my installations function like displaced characters or invasive organisms learning to survive in new territory; in negotiating both their individual presences and a cumulative identity, they labor to establish a kind of microclimate within the gallery. This is both a meditation on fragility and a wry salute to the human capacity to make use and make do: the will to adapt to uncertain conditions and the resourcefulness to manage with what is on hand.

Sculpture/Installation 2014

Work in sculpture and installation, completed in 2014. Most of the work in this project was created for Constructive Tendencies, a two-artist exhibition featuring myself and Baltimore painter Bobby Coleman at the Rice Gallery at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD

  • Countertenor

    Countertenor, 2014. Painted wood blocks, fabric, tape, and site-specific wall painting with line drawing.
  • Funny Once

    Cardboard from clementine box w/plastic mesh remnant, wall drawing 2014
  • Winning Temperament

    Objects, paint, drawing 2014 For this piece I repurposed one of the gallery's movable walls. My basic modifications--adding a roughly built half-wall, painting areas in contrast to its off-white original color--transformed it into a sculpture as well as a staging ground for other objects and gestures As with my other recent installation work, this arrangement was initiated and resolved during a short, intense period of improvisatory play.
  • Winning Temperament

    detail view
  • Winning Temperament

    detail view
  • Winning Temperament

    Detail View
  • Winning Temperament

    Objects, paint, drawing 2014 For this piece I repurposed one of the gallery's movable walls. My basic modifications--adding a roughly built half-wall, painting areas in contrast to its off-white original color--transformed it into a sculpture as well as a staging ground for other objects and gestures As with my other recent installation work, this arrangement was initiated and resolved during a short, intense period of improvisatory play.
  • Winning Temperament: Baritone (for JR)

    Saw blade, felt, tape, sheetrock, paint "Baritone (for JR)" is an embedded piece: a self-contained work that also functions in relation to the "host ecosystem" of the larger sculpture/installation. The fabric is draped over a broken bandsaw blade whose ends are hammered teeth-first into the sheetrock.
  • Beacon

    Plastic twine, metallic tape, wall painting, carpet fragments.<br><br>2014
  • Custom Climate

    Objects, paint, drawing 2014

Indoor Verbs

Indoor Verbs is a gathering of objects and wall drawings, installed here for the 2013 Sondheim Semi-Finalist Exhibition. The individual constructions were improvised over a two-day installation period using a wide range of studio ephemera-- sculpture components, modified furniture bits, drawing fragments, other collage fodder-- as well as materials salvaged from the gallery space itself.

An excess of stuff was transferred from the studio to the installation site, then aggressively edited down to the arrangement shown here. Painted wall-drawings and collage-fragments appear behind, between, and sometimes across the surface of the sculptural components.

The symbiosis between 3-D construction and drawing activity makes the seemingly casual placement of each individual element specific and necessary, while complicating each element's autonomy. Fragments rub against fragments, prop each other up and signal to each other across the room, negotiating a tenuous cumulative identity. With the making of Indoor Verbs, half-formed gestures and partial objects are given an opportunity to move, breathe, transform, play, and set up camp in a foreign space.

Works on Paper 2014-2017

Selections from an ongoing body of small drawings and paintings on paper.

Sculpture/Installation 2010-2011

Earlier installation and sculpture. This body of work marks the beginning of my exploration of architectural space using strategies adapted from my painting practice. Most of the work pictured here was created for my MFA thesis exhibition at the University of Connecticut.

  • It Is What It Sounds Like

    Watercolor on paper, laminate, nails, clothespins, fabric
  • Against Weather

    Lumber, fabric, paint, rope, studio detritus, 2011. This installation is something between an (anti-functional) improvised shelter and a collaged spatial drawing. Like much of my 3-D work, Against Weather's unstable and provisional appearance is a consequence of its site-responsive development. [*note: This piece is entirely distinct from my 2016 project also titled Against Weather, although it is an important precursor. Sort of like a great-uncle who happens to have the exact same name.]
  • Against Weather (detail)

    Lumber, fabric, paint, rope, studio detritus <br> 2011 Detail view
  • No Argument

    Wood, fake fur, canvas
  • You'll do

    Wood, paint, yarn<br>2011
  • BR

    Lumber, paint, found furniture element
  • Med. Joy

    Painted plywood, homasote, tape, insulation foam, furniture fragment, carpet
  • Med. Joy

    Painted plywood, homasote, tape, insulation foam, furniture fragment, carpet
  • Caller

    Wood, paint, wall drawing<br> 2011
  • Caller

    Wood, paint, wall drawing <br>detail view <br>2011

Paintings (pre-2010)

My current work in sculpture and installation began around 2010 as a mutation of my earlier painting practice. Here are some highlights from that earlier body of work.

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About Ben

Ben Piwowar is a Baltimore-based painter and installation artist whose works use abstraction to reflect on fragility, adaptation, and regeneration. He completed his undergraduate studies in painting and poetry at the University of Maryland in 2002 and earned an MFA in Studio Art at the University of... more

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