In painting nature, there are many shapes and patterns observed that may at first appear random but are in fact highly organized and structured. A viewer, whether he realizes it or not, has been surrounded by these forms and his brain has been registering these realities over the years. An artwork that focuses on accurately depicting natural forms carries a distinct visual authenticity and can resonate with a viewer in a unique way.
I vividly remember my ten-month-old son looking at a simple line drawing of the silhouette of a dog’s head, pointing at it and exclaiming "Doggie!" I was struck by the fact that at such a young age he could look at an extremely simple image - really nothing more than a single line on a page - and connect it to something he knew and loved. Our brains are uniquely wired to view forms and connect what we are viewing to our existing bank of memory, knowledge and emotion.
This resonance is crucial to all of my work, from my plein air landscape paintings to the stripped-down pieces dealing with shape and pattern that currently dominate my practice. I am drawn to the idea of simplifying images down to the basic elements that register with a viewer’s brain. As the more literal references are eliminated from a work (for example, the use of naturalistic color or depiction of an identifiable scene), the viewer is called upon to engage his or her own memories and create a personal connection to the piece.
My large-scale oil paintings are created with extensive layering of thin glazes of color. Traditional perspective techniques are eschewed in favor of a method of "stacking" layers to subtly create a sense of depth. The shapes present in the paintings are carefully duplicated from photo reference of an actual place and moment.
I’m deeply interested in the lines that separate the abstract from the representational, including form, color, perspective and scale. It is my goal to explore some of these boundaries while maintaining the anchor of representational forms.
Benjamin Guffee was born and raised on the East Coast. He moved to central Mexico at the age of 21 and began pursuing a career as a painter. After several years in Guanajuato Mexico, Ben has now settled in St. Louis with his wife Jill and two young children. Since 2005, Ben has exhibited extensively in the Saint Louis area and beyond:
May 2009, “Nature In Forms”, solo show at The Green Center
August 2009, “wood, metal and paint”, group show with David Stine, Doug Kassabaum and Shawn Cornell, Open Door Gallery
May 2011, "Everyday Beauty", solo show at McCaughen & Burr
July 2011, featured in "Our Great Waterways" show at Kodner Gallery
September 2011, featured in "Best of Missouri Painters” at Missouri Botanical Garden
July 2013, solo show, "Missouri Masters" series, Kodner Gallery
December 2015, Aqua Art Miami, with Pele Prints
Awards: Augusta Plein Air, Stems Plein Air (KS), Shaw Art Fair (1st Place Fine Art Category 2012), Art & Air (1st Place Painting Category, 2012)
Fidelity Investments (placement in multiple USA offices)
NW Mutual, Atlanta, GA
Convergent Wealth Management, Saint Louis, MO
Private collections and corporate collections in locations including Saint Louis, MO, New York, NY, Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, Mexico and Switzerland