PL: and are you frequently looking to materialize complex things like light or gravity, space, time?
TB: yes, absolutely, you?re trying to imbue the work with that sensory experience that one has, the interest to concretize, to make apparent, those kinds of qualities and without that being either demonstrative or didactic, but it being something that is cooperative or harnessing, with a sensitivity. So that it doesn’t just become about how beautiful refracted light can be (for example), rather, one is trying to work with the visuality and visibility and a sort of shading of recognition, of decipherment, of being able to give attention.
I try to allow mergers and a kind of morphing to play its hand. The work has to set up certain kinds of tensions at least in the way that one might view it. But its existence has to both appear and disappear ? that’s the cusp, the threshold. It?s more than the application of craft. It?s more than itself! And if it?s too strong and it?s only about material, then it may have failed. It needs to be about the possibility of changing the material, to still reach the same kind of awareness, then there?s a chance that it?s a good work. But that’s the paradox. The paradox is working so specifically with these material qualities and yet it?s not just about the material qualities. It?s the experience that it gives rise to and how it triggers some of those experiences as a piece of work that is really interesting. And it triggers it partly by sets of references, by allusions to things, by the playful rhythms of its formal make up, by the dance of light, by the viewer’s position in relation to the work, by the time of looking at the work, whether it?s the strength of the colour or whether it?s the mutating, or the shifting of shadows, it shifts time in a strange sort of way, because it?s not a linear narrative sort of time, it?s quite a different engagement, I think, than many of the other culturally available spaces of browsing, viewing, consuming, that are around.
(Extract from an interview with Tom Benson by Pascale Lamche 30.X.14)
Tom Benson is a London based artist. He has curated exhibitions Mind Rhymes (Hidde Van Seggelen, 2013) and was a judge for the 2014 John Moores Prize for Painting. Recent solo exhibitions include Subject to Change (Hidde Van Seggelen, London, 2012), New Work (Concept Space, Shibukawa, 2010), New Work Noborimachi Space of Art, Hiroshima, 2010), Paintings (Larry Becker Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, 2009), and Paintings (The Field Institute, Raketenstation, Insel Hombroich, Neuss, 2008). In 2010 Benson’s fourth artist book, In Black & White, was published by Bedford Press and Offset Editions, London.