Newsprint With Donut, 2019

Oil on copper

Dimensions: 24" x 18"

Image courtesy of the artist

Benjamin J. Shamback

Mobile, Alabama

The oil painting in this exhibition is on a copper plate. My paintings are realistic in their presentation of objects like glasses of water and flowers, reflecting my sensibilities as a realist. Beyond realism, however, I intend for my paintings to strike a balance between their imagery, coloring and their physicality- their presence as objects. Part of this physicality is the use of a metal support which isn’t altogether common in contemporary art, but was common in 16th and 17th century European painting. Paintings made on metal at that time were almost exclusively liturgical paintings, icons and devotional images that were physically small but their religious imagery lent them a powerful substantive quality. I develop each painting’s physical presence in a way that is unique to paintings on metal, and reflects the “precious” nature of metal’s liturgical history in painting. Where imagery is concerned, I have carefully chosen objects like glass pitchers, paper and seashells for their delicate nature. This delicacy is intended to be in direct contrast with the metal support and in many passages, the painterly surfaces of the paintings. These contrasts are designed to build visual tension and focus the viewer on the painting’s function as an object to be looked at as well as a window to be looked through.