Solo exhibition |Scottsdale, AZ
Altamira Fine Art Scottsdale is pleased to welcome Ben Steele for his solo exhibition, Art Meets West, opening April 11, 2022.
Join us for the Artist Reception, Thursday, April 14th from 7-9pm during the Main Street ArtWalk.
Art Meets West
What if surrealist René Magritte sidled up to a roadside hotel bar out West? Ben Steele imagines speculative scenes like this, where seemingly incongruous actors from Modern art and Western iconography meet in settings as strange as they are familiar. Through such surprising pairings, he invites discovery by way of personal association and subtle humor.
There are no right or wrong interpretations of Steele’s paintings. Instead, he honors the grey of contemporary life, where famous figures can fall in and out of favor, their lives existing as lenses by which we can better understand our own. “We have to keep asking the questions. The grey spaces are ever-evolving,” Steele says. “It’s valuable for us to evaluate ourselves.”
Questions root Steele’s practice: in conversations with his wife Melanie, he comes up with his juxtaposing topics, like a pair of cowboy boots brandishing Jean-Michel Basquiat’s portrait done in the silkscreen style of Andy Warhol. Rich with references, his scenes welcome each viewer to make their own associations, whether that be through the allegorical commercialization of Modern art as Western adornment or the knowledge of Warhol and Basquiat’s fraught collaborations. “People can enjoy these paintings on multiple levels,” Steele says. Whatever people bring to the work is welcome.
The gruff independence of the Western zeitgeist dismantles the pretension shrouding Modern art. “There’s no art shaming here,” Steele says. By setting Georgia O’Keefe and her lofty desert landscapes within the playful context of colored pencils, Steele recasts her influence on contemporary creativity. Through his imaginative compositions, canonical figures become dynamic instigators of play and inquiry. “I’m trying to engage in a conversation, to make you wonder,” he says. “We all see things differently and bring such different viewpoints to the table. Hopefully, through asking questions, we can have more nuanced conversations over time.”
Pre-sales available. For more information contact the gallery, (480) 949-1256, email@example.com