Ben Alper is an artist based in Durham, North Carolina. He received a BFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Alper’s work has been shown widely, including in group exhibitions at the NADA Art Fair in Miami, Higher Pictures in New York, Le Dictateur Gallery in Milan, Italy, Schneider Gallery in Chicago and S1 Gallery in Portland. Additionally, his work has been published in Time Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, Conveyor Magazine, The California Sunday Magazine and and Dear, Dave. Ben has also published three books – Adrift and A Series of Occurrences were both released under his imprint Flat Space Books. He is also the co-founder and co-facilitator of A New Nothing, an online project space dedicated to hosting visual conversations between artists.
(don’t miss the previous publication of Ben Alper)
A Series of Occurrences
A Series of Occurrences is a body of work that explores the photograph’s unique ability to exist as both indexical object and poetic fiction. While the images find aesthetic influence in more descriptive or evidentiary forms of image making, such as crime scene photography, the conceptual methodology of such practices is noticeably absent. Abstraction and ambiguity pervade, context is denied and a sense of familiarity begins to give way to a more enigmatic and unsettling experience of the everyday. Instead of attempting to elucidate as much as possible, these photographs disassociate and fragment the world into an uneasy collection of images, or ‘occurrences’.
The result is the construction of a kind of ‘anyplace’, one rooted less in cultural or geographic specificity than in the potential for inanimate objects and spaces to manifest symbolic tension.
Sometimes that tension exists between presence and absence; other times it’s found in the relationship between the natural and the artificial. And still other times it is manifested by the flattening or confusion of space, an experience which unsettles our perceptions of the world around us.
These photographs are psychological totems that evince certain anxieties I have about the world and my place in it. They are cryptic and discrete, like a puzzle that’s missing pieces, yet there’s a narrative insinuation that carries through and across the images. They are also as fictional as they are factual, in that they represent my desire to transform the quotidian into something stranger and more acute. In this way, I see these photographs as fragments of an apprehensive psyche.
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