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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.

Works on Paper

A selection of small works on paper made between 2011 and 2013. This set focuses on drawings that involve some material and spatial play.

  • hutsnake.jpg

    gouache on paper
  • Results

    gouache and thread on paper
  • Learn Slower (detail)

    Drawing fragments, striped fabric, spray paint, needle and thread, tape <br> Dimensions variable, approx. 24 in. x 20 in.
  • Learn Slower (detail)

    Drawing fragments, striped fabric, spray paint, needle and thread, tape <br> Dimensions variable, approx. 24 in. x 20 in.
  • Learn Slower

    Drawing fragments, striped fabric, spray paint, needle and thread, tape <br> Dimensions variable, approx. 24 in. x 20 in.
  • Actual Size

    Painting on paper, newspaper clipping, aluminum tape, modified yarn, nails<br> 8.5 in. x 6 in.
  • piwowar_27.jpg

    gouache, graphite, re-used tape, notebook paper<br>9 in. x 12 in.

Sculpture/Installation III

Earlier installation and sculpture. Most of the work pictured here was created for my MFA thesis exhibition at the University of Connecticut.

  • You'll do

    Wood, paint, yarn<br>2011
  • Partner

    wood, mop handle, paint, caster, drawing media, tacks<br>detail view<br> 2010
  • Partner

    wood, mop handle, paint, caster, drawing media, tacks<br>2010
  • Partner

    wood, mop handle, paint, caster, drawing media, tacks<br> 2010
  • Untitled (speed)

    wood, paint, caster
  • Caller

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

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

    Lumber, paint, found furniture element

Sculpture/Installation II

Earlier installation and sculpture. Most of the work pictured here was created for my MFA thesis exhibition at the University of Connecticut.

  • Better Living

    Painted lumber, blue astroturf, foam, wall painting<br> detail view<br> 2010-2011
  • Better Living

    Painted lumber, blue astroturf, foam, wall painting 2010-2011
  • Better Living

    Painted lumber, blue astroturf, foam, wall painting<br> 2010-2011
  • Med. Joy

    Painted plywood, homasote, tape, insulation foam, furniture fragment, carpet<br> 48 in. x 24 in. x 30 in.<br> 2011
  • Med. Joy

    Painted plywood, homasote, tape, insulation foam, furniture fragment, carpet<br> 48 in. x 24 in. x 30 in.<br> 2011
  • Depends Which Ghost

    Cardboard, nails, paint, piping, thread<br> 2010
  • It Is What It Sounds Like

    Watercolor on paper, laminate, nails, clothespins, fabric<br> 2011

Sculpture/Installation I

Earlier work in installation sculpture. Most of the work pictured was created for my MFA thesis exhibition at the University of Connecticut.

  • No Argument

    Wood, fake fur, canvas<br> 2011
  • I Think It's Prince

    Wood, cardboard, paint, tape, rope, steel, other material<br>2011
  • I Think It's Prince

    Wood, cardboard, paint, tape, rope, steel, other material<br> 2011
  • Against Weather

    Lumber, fabric, paint, rope, studio detritus <br> 2011 <br> <br> Detail view
  • Against Weather

    Lumber, fabric, paint, rope, studio detritus <br> 2011 <br> <br> Detail view
  • Against Weather (detail)

    Lumber, fabric, paint, rope, studio detritus <br> 2011 <br> <br> Detail view
  • Against Weather

    Lumber, fabric, paint, rope, studio detritus <br> 2011 <br> <br> <i>Against Weather</i> started as a pile of orphaned construction materials and unused sculptural elements. As this accumulation approached critical mass in my studio, I decided to make something out of it. First I cobbled together a baseline of structural integrity from the more stable pieces of detritus, and then I hoisted the skeleton off the floor.

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. Placement is wonky and whimsical, but carefully considered. 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

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

  • csa016.jpg

    Watercolor and graphite on paper
  • csacollage.jpg

    graphite, watercolor, and collage on paper<br>10 in. x 10 in.
  • paper006.jpg

    gouache and ink marker on paper<br>12 in. x 9 in.
  • paper014.jpg

    gouache and graphite on paper<br>8 in. x 8 in.
  • paper011.jpg

    gouache on paper<br>8 in. x 8 in.
  • paper009.jpg

    Gouache, pen, and ink on paper
  • paper010.jpg

    ink marker, colored pencil, and acrylic on paper<br>8 in. x 8 in.
  • csa017.jpg

    Graphite and gouache on paper<br>5.5 in. x 7 in.
  • paper001.jpg

    gouache, graphite, and ink marker on paper<br>11 in. x 8 in.
  • draw015.jpg

    gouache on paper<br>8 in. x 8 in.

Recent Work

Most of the work in this set was made for "Smart Painting," a group exhibition at Artspace New Haven, Connecticut in early 2014.<br><br>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.

  • Wait for Lightning

    Sofa leg, paint<br>2014
  • Rescue

    Cardboard, paint, plastic stake<br> 2013<br><br>This was originally a component of the <i>Indoor Verbs</i> installation (see projects below), but has since been exhibited as an autonomous piece.
  • Funny Once

    Cardboard from clementine box w/plastic mesh remnant, color pencil on wall<br>2014<br><br>This is an autonomous object-drawing "embedded" in the Custom Climate installation.
  • Custom Climate

    Objects, paint, drawing<br> 2014<br><br>alternate installation view
  • Custom Climate

    Objects, paint, drawing<br>2014<br><br>Detail view.<br><br>This component is installed high above the viewer's eye-level. It consists of wood moulding with a hand-painted pink-to-aqua gradient, accompanied by pencil lines drawn directly on the wall.
  • Custom Climate

    Detail view<br> Objects, paint, drawing<br> 2014
  • Custom Climate

    Objects, paint, drawing<br> 2014<br><br>installation view
  • Custom Climate

    Objects, paint, drawing<br> 2014<br><br>detail view

Recent Work

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 me and Bobby Coleman at the Rice Gallery at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD

  • Sibling

    Plywood, paint, hardware, contact paper<br>2014
  • Beacon

    Plastic twine, metallic tape, wall painting, carpet fragments.<br><br>2014
  • Watch/Wait

    2011/2014<br>Standing element: board with faux wood veneer, bar clamps, hardware, fabric rope<br>Floor element: Insulation foam, paint<br><br>This is a revised/revived version of an older sculpture. The suspension line (holding up the front end of the standing element) extends all the way to the ceiling, so it becomes a drawing element in the space and expands the scale of the piece.
  • Winning Temperament

    Detail View
  • Winning Temperament

    detail view
  • Winning Temperament: Baritone (for JR)

    Saw blade, felt, tape, sheetrock, paint<br><br>This 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.
  • Winning Temperament

    Alternate view<br>Objects, paint, drawing<br>2014
  • Winning Temperament

    detail view
  • Winning Temperament

    Objects, paint, drawing<br>2014<br><br>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.<br><br>As with my other recent installation work (see Custom Climate and Indoor Verbs in projects below), this arrangement was initiated and resolved during a short, intense period of improvisatory play.
  • Countertenor

    2014<br>Painted wood blocks, green fur, tape, wall painting

Recent Work

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

  • Skitter Index (detail)

    Objects, paint, drawing<br>2015<br>Site-responsive installation created for the 2015 Sondheim Semi-Finalist exhibition.
  • Skitter Index (detail)

    Objects, paint, drawing<br>2015<br>Site-responsive installation created for the 2015 Sondheim Semi-Finalist exhibition.
  • Skitter Index (detail)

    Objects, paint, drawing<br>2015<br>Site-responsive installation created for the 2015 Sondheim Semi-Finalist exhibition.
  • Skitter Index (detail)

    Objects, paint, drawing<br>2015<br>Site-responsive installation created for the 2015 Sondheim Semi-Finalist exhibition.
  • Skitter Index

    Objects, paint, drawing<br>2015<br>Site-responsive installation created for the 2015 Sondheim Semi-Finalist exhibition.
  • Nesting Studies (#4)

    Wood, sheetrock, drawing fragments, paint, other materials<br>2015
  • Nesting Studies (#3)

    Wood, paint, tape, cable, felt, nails<br>2015
  • Nesting Studies (#6)

    Paint, modified wire cage<br>2015
  • Starter

    Wood, plastic, foil, drawings, nail <br>2016

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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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http://www.benpiwowar.com: http://www.benpiwowar.com


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