Artist Inspiration: Benjamin Edwards

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When I first saw Benjamin Edwards' large painting up at the Walker (I was a freshman then) I felt at some level that here was an artist that really got it. I still believe he captured better than anyone else what it means to live in an American cities or suburb today. His focus is on capitalism, which often translates to a bombardment of information. It's about decoding and making sense of an unprecedented visual, often virtual, landscape. Everything is accessible in his pictures, to the point of being painful.
What I frequently take from his work is the role of the lingering symbol. There are isolated moments in his work where a symbol floats in the sky, separate from the rest of the world it belongs to. I find that kind of moment to be a powerful metaphor for individualism in the 21st century, for the power and powerlessness of the investor and consumer.
The great thing about Benjamin Edwards, something I spoke about in class, is that images of his work are totally accessible online, from all the way back into the 90's. Where other artists will edit their work to retain the illusion of freshness, Edwards embraces his past and the information age that allows his work to reach the public at all.we.jpg

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