"Hook and Crook" Conquers the Carl Kostyál Gallery
Last week, we attended the opening of Benjamin Spiers' solo show debut, curated by Oli Epp at London's Carl Kostyál gallery. Though his LA show covered the enormous span of his artistic output, Hook and Crook fully focuses on exclusively figurative paintings from 2013 to now, presented for the first time.
As huge fans of painting, we are enjoying the new wave of appreciation for the medium. Especially gratifying in this revival is the evident camaraderie between the painters, for example, the relationship of Spiers and Epp. As one of the prime developers of a unique visual language that enthralled the international art world, Epp wanted to introduce the works of his influential professor, Benjamin Spiers, to that audience. Such efforts resulted in Spiers' current sold-out London solo exhibition and upcoming projects.
Hook and Crook is Spiers' direct response to the sudden interest in his work and subsequent expectation to produce work in a limited amount of time. Experiencing this for the first time, Spiers, who spent recent years sharpening technique and burnishing his visual language, is ready to deliver the goods 'by hook or by crook', which, dating back to 1380s England, means 'by any means necessary'.
Cleverly merging a realist technique with the free-spirited approach of Cubism and Surrealism, the artist constructs uncommon visuals that impress with their technical superiority. Precise about color choice and the atmosphere of his work, Spiers confidently utilizes his skills and knowledge of art history and create work that is as provocative as it is humorous, as original as feels familiar. Continuously interested in the experimentation of possibilities, the artist boldly jumps among motifs to play with elements of light, surface, perspective, and textures.
Freed of the need to endlessly perfect his work and touch up the smallest details, Spiers finds himself channeling this urgency to produce works with a strong impact. Armed with a clear mastery of traditional techniques, Spiers' solo exhibition seamlessly blends a new body of work with older paintings, resulting in their dazzling dual debut. ––Sasha Bogojev
Benjamin Spiers' solo exhibition with Carl Kostyál Gallery will be on view through August 27th, 2019.