Richard Benson: Found Views and Chosen Colors
October 16–November 29, 2008
32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Richard Benson: Found Views and Chosen Colors on view October 16 through November 29. The exhibition marks Benson’s first show at the gallery and is comprised of approximately 40 multiple impression pigment prints taken between 2005 and 2008. Benson explores the natural and built terrain of the American landscape in order to reveal the passage of time as mirrored, for example, by weathered architectural surfaces and machines, environmental development and decay, and changes of season. Working outside the confines of a studio, he engages the outside world and creates visually striking photographs characterized by their absence of artifice. Using a Canon digital camera and single focal length lens, Benson aspires to present what he describes as "an unbiased window" onto an ever-changing world.
For Benson, the relationship between a picture’s content and the method by which that picture is made is paramount. Acknowledged as being one of the world’s preeminent printers and a pioneer in printing technology, Benson makes photographs using an inkjet printer configured to print a single image in successive stages. A skeleton of pigment is initially laid on the paper, and color is gradually added each time it subsequently passes through the printer. Benson literally builds his photographs; a print can require the application of up to nine layers of pigment. By understanding the importance of ink on a page, Benson has developed a technique that results in deeply saturated, vivid images that actually look like the world from which they are taken.
Benson has been instrumental in revolutionizing the standards for photographic reproduction in publications including The Face of Lincoln (1979), The Work of Atget (1981), Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company (1985) and over a dozen Lee Friedlander monographs. He is the co-author of Lay This Laurel with Lincoln Kirstein (1972) and A Maritime Album: 100 Photographs and Their Stories with John Szarkowski (1997), and has authored A Yale Album: The Third Century (2000) and The Printed Picture (2008).
Richard Benson (b. 1943) is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts publication grants with the Eakins Press, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. An assistant and adjunct professor at Yale University since 1979, Benson served as Dean of the University’s School of Art from 1996 until 2006. His work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.