Like the Spice is pleased to announce Bennett Morris: Climate Untamed. This will be the artist’s first solo show in New York highlighting twelve photographs made between 2006-2009 that diagram Morris’s unique examination on beauty, fear, politics, and the sublime.
Steeped in the visual language of Romanticism, Morris’s photographs examine the intimate relationship between beauty and fear while playing on the diluted modern politics of “Shock and awe.” Re-examining classical thresholds like harmony and unity, Bennett follows in the path of painters like Salvatore Rosa who was drawn to the foreboding beauty of the Pyrenees when the term “awesome” was still weighted by a near-religious awe. The result of Bennett’s exploration into this godlike fear and beauty creates a show that is more about climate than atmosphere, releasing singular moments to a vast array of emotions.
For Bennett, the photograph becomes a means to an end as he begins his process by constructing large-scale dioramas within water tanks using fragments from fallen architectural structures, wax, model building parts, and other found materials. These post-human controlled environments are built for ruin; as he fills his tank with water what took many months to build disassembles in minutes. While paint pigments are added with perfect control, Bennett has only minutes to capture with his digital camera these transcendent yet ever ephemeral color reactions. He infuses these underwater landscapes with elements from the German Romantics and the Hudson River School, and then steeps them with Gothic Revival. What comes from this is sculpture forced into false scales and a strange, terror-stricken beauty born from a luminiferous aether made ‘simply’ from water and paint. Balancing between beauty and terror in this design, one is able to look through this cloud to see the deception and recognize beauty.
Born in Portland, Maine in 1978 Bennett Morris earned his BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in 2001 and his MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Art from the Maine College of Art in 2007. He is a recipient of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture fellowship. Mr. Morris’s work has been exhibited extensively in group shows across the US. Mr. Morris will also be featured in Skowhegan at 92YTribeca: An Alumni Exhibition running concurrently with this exhibition. Bennett is an Assistant Professor at the Maine College of Art.