The drawings of Ben Tolman
In his detailed and challenging ink on paper drawings, Ben Tolman (featured) depicts architectural structures that have the role to archive various acts and forms of life in an ironic contemporary Noah’s Ark yet without the aim of salvation, the relationship between man and space, brutal and alien invasions of homes, hostile and stifling environments, urban landscapes of decay where people of different lifestyles and cultures coexist and clash in a daily routine of apathy and pretend civilization.
Highlighting a world of filth and depravity, for which his characters seem both responsible and occasional spectators, the artist exposes the ruins of society, bringing into discussion issues related to homelessness, police abuse and misconduct, the refugee crisis, the way vice, immorality and degradation become source of entertainment, the impassible behavior and silent acceptance of human tragedy, and the rush for money as a promise to overcome poverty and live the consumerist dream, the jackpot goal as second chance in a time of few options.
The space limits, restricts and sometimes offers its dwellers certain possibilities. And this generates continuous tensions and contradictions in the works, the contrast between the desire to move forward and the reality of captivity, the forced inertness confused with ease and comfort, the lack of reaction and reluctance to change.
‘Collection’, 2016. Ink on Paper, 14 x 11 in.
‘Invasion’, 2016. Ink on Paper, 14 x 11 in.
‘Petting Zoo’, 2016. Ink on Paper, 14 x 11 in.
‘Refuge’, 2016. Ink on Paper, 30 x 22 in. / Part of the ‘Civilized’ series.
‘Restricted’, 2016. Ink on Paper, 14 x 11 in.
‘Ship of Fools’, 2015. Ink on Paper, 26 x 40 in. / Part of the ‘Civilized’ series.
‘Five Dollar Buffet’, 2015. Ink on Paper, 26 x 40 in. / Part of the ‘Civilized’ series.
Images © Ben Tolman