On view 11 September - 11 October 2020 in the Main Gallery
Ben Rheault, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 in., Let’s Not Beat Around the Bush, 2018.
Ben Rheault, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 in., What Happens When Ideals are Set Aside For Comfort, 2019. On loan from the collection of Stephen Long and Tammi Kromenaker.
EVERYTHING IS FINE - Artist Statement
This body of work is entitled Everything is Fine because everything is clearly not fine. This work is meant to confront those who really believe that this is the United States at its best, and to ask the rest of us what it is about our behavior and our values as a culture that have contributed to this state of affairs.
This collection originated with the production of one painting that was, in my mind, just going to be a one-off, tongue-in-cheek indictment of the state of art and the art-buying public as I currently see it. What began as a critique of the art scene became a critique of the whole scene, and what happened next was that my sketchbook began to have fewer sketches and more words—catch-phrases and other jargon that I felt resonated with the socio-political environment we find ourselves in. Realizing that there are no new ideas under the sun, I took comfort and inspiration from the conceptual art of the 1960’s-70’s, in particular, On Kawara’s date paintings and the on-the-nose obviousness of Joseph Kosuth’s work.
Creating a simple text expresses these ideas clearly: Art should not be a status symbol; it is not here to match your couch. And hashtag-armchair-activism does not change the world.
-- Ben Rheault, 2020
Ben Rheault, diptych - acrylic on canvas, ea. 24 x 24 in., The Toxic Twins, 2019.