Opening June 7th – Benjamin Lee Sperry in The Nothing Series and Pooka up close, a solo MFA exhibition at The Delaware Contemporary

Posted by on Jun 5, 2019 in Alumni News, Exhibitions, VCS Alumni | No Comments

This Friday, 2016 VCS alumnus Benjamin Lee Sperry’s solo MFA exhibition The Nothing Series and Pooka up close will open at The Delaware Contemporary. The exhibition was coordinated by Kate Testa, University of Delaware Curatorial Fellow , and will be on display through June 30th with an opening reception on the 7th from 5 to 9 pm and an artist’s talk on June 19th from 5 to 7 pm.

Benjamin sent us a few preview images, along with the following statement from Chris Reitz, a critic and curator who has written about his work in the past:

Painting’s long and fraught negotiation with photography, its technology replacement, continues in Sperry’s striking painting and silkscreen diptychs. Each features a camera phone picture reproduced in nearly-photo scale in silkscreen and paired with it’s formal counterpart in paint. And in each, the artist’s careful treatment of the image’s status as both object and process reveals that the negotiations are won at each medium’s limit. (Here too is where the negotiations began – ‘replacement’ turns on painting’s limited capacity for capturing life and photography’s limited capacity to compose it.) For Sperry, the limits of artistic process create possibilities for incidental mark making, and these incidental marks, which are produced at the edge of a screen or by technical limitations of the phone camera, ultimately eclipse the images that artistic process was employed to produce. At the level of form, then, his work concerns the artist’s capacity (his skill) and it’s role in generating successful objects (one might not lead to the other). But this concern carries over to his content as well. His images look familiar enough – a beach scene at night, a photo that nearly each of us has taken. But they also appear unfamiliar, like private keepsakes taken from a stranger’s phone. The problem of skill then turns to the problem of image-object capacity: What happens at the informational limits of the image?

Here is a description of The Nothing Series and Pooka up close from The Delaware Contemporary’s website:

The Nothing Series and Pooka up close

University of Delaware MFA Solo Exhibition by Benjamin Lee Sperry

June 7 – 30, 2019

Friday, June 7, 2019 | 5 – 9 PM during Art Loop

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
5 – 7 PM
Artist talk at 6:00 PM

In a joint venture with the University of Delaware, The Delaware Contemporary presents The Nothing Series and Pooka up close, a solo show of works by Benjamin Lee Sperry. Reflecting on a childhood memory of getting his first camera, Sperry recalls, “I spent the rest of the evening photographing the floor. People kept saying things like ‘Ben don’t waste your film.’ That notion didn’t quite make sense to me. Why did they all assume that photographing the floor was so certainly a waste?”

This idea has followed Sperry throughout his life as he still employs a similar stream-of-consciousness method in his photography. Using his photographs of “nothing” as a starting point, Sperry translates the images using a CMYK screen printing process. He aims to give them potential to be “something” through their juxtaposition with his paintings and drawings. The resulting diptychs made through this unique working structure explore concepts of post-visualization versus a pre-visualization and how these notions affect the intentions of his creations, summoning the viewer to “up-close” inspection.

Benjamin Lee Sperry is a mixed media artist working primarily in printmaking, painting, and photography. He received his MFA from The University of Delaware in May of 2019 and a BFA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of Visual Arts in 2016. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and most recently was included in the group show Roadside Picnic at Heit Gallery in Berlin, Germany.

  • This exhibition is coordinated by Kate Testa, University of Delaware Curatorial Fellow.

DuPont I Gallery

Visual & Critical Studies