BEN STEELE

STEELEING THE CLASSICS

JULY 2021

About the Exhibition

With an education built upon classical training, Steele utilizes the processes of the old masters with a contemporary sensibility; never staying in one place for too long. The result is a wide-ranging body of work, from still life to portraiture to landscape (and often somewhere in between), melding art history and pop culture references in his ever-changing process.

          As someone who frequently references art and culture, I’ve explored a lot of the depths of the history of artists and art: from the obscure to the ultra-famous. What I’m often surprised by is how few iconic images actually exist; those visuals that almost everyone, regardless of background or knowledge base, instinctively recognizes. For this exhibition, I chose to explore the best of the best; the artists and the imagery that have informed society for generations. It fascinates me to breakdown the artistic decisions that make 'A Classic'.
         Getting to study and emulate the style and craft of these images throughout my career has brought me immense purpose. And I think that getting to recontextualize these works - as other artists have done before me - allows for them to continue to exist in other forms. Otherwise, they could disappear quietly into an Oligarchs private collection or are only available to those who can visit them in the Louvre. By referencing them again and again, much more of society gets to enjoy these iconic works, which I find especially meaningful because art is a language we can all speak, regardless of whether we participate as creator or viewer.   
–BEN STEELE