MIYAKO YOSHINAGA is pleased to announce The Mediterranean, the fifth solo exhibition of figurative oil and mixed media paintings by Hans Benda, on view from June 2nd through July 16, 2016. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, June 2nd from 6 to 8 p.m. Artist will be present.
Many of Hans Benda’s recent paintings feature panoramas of lands and islands seen from sailors’ eyes. Gentle mountain silhouettes against murky skies are reflected in calm waters of coasts and harbors. A hazy hill with olive trees, a sun-blasted oasis, a thin waterfall, swelling clouds. In simple idyllic scenes meticulously painted in small to moderate scale, Benda’s nuanced brush captures the enigma of unfamiliar terrain.
Last year, Benda took a journey aboard a cruise ship, visiting such places as Jerusalem, Acre, Cyprus, Malta, Sicily, and the Turkish coast, a part of the Mediterranean Sea that was once the center of influence on European history and culture and is now again the focus of world attention. As he sailed these waters, ancient clashes of civilizations and the current mass migrations of refugees inevitably crossed his mind. His thoughts were also influence by a book he was reading on the travels of St. Paul in this region in first century of the Christian era. In his own words: “We did not meet refugees along the way but I could not forget that they must have been somewhere around our shiny white cruise liner... my paintings are somehow free reflections on the sea, safe or dangerous coasts, islands, and hopes for safe crossings under circumstances not so different from Paul’s travels 2000 years ago.” One painting entitled A Dreamliner II depicts a small wooden boat on the beach as an ironical stand-in for a giant cruise liner.
Benda’s work is deeply rooted in the rich tradition of European painting, and some works in this exhibition call to mind Orientalism landscapes of North Africa and Asia Minor. His work however eschews romanticism and nostalgia, directly engaging today’s increasingly intricate world by blending the ancient and the modern, the peaceful and the fraught, the indifferent and the beckoning. In addition to oil on canvas, this exhibition includes oil drawings on resin-coated paper, a new technique he recently developed.
Born in Berlin in 1960, Hans Benda studied Fine Arts at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe (1982-87). After living in Belgium for many years, he currently divides his time between Idar-Oberstein (Germany) and Misakimachi (Japan). Benda’s work has been shown in Bangladesh, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan and the United States.
For media/press inquiries, please contact Miyako Yoshinaga: email@example.com