I’ve found that carving into a block is a good way to free my repressed thoughts. I carve away from the block what I don’t want to print. The ink is rolled onto the places I haven’t carved and then transferred to paper. The print itself is a mirrored, negative image of the work I’ve put into it. Conceptually, I employ an equivalent negative process: reducing the particular details of my life to the essential forms that preoccupy my mind as I prepare and make the image.
Printmaking allows me to spend extended time sitting, contemplating, working the chaotic unconscious into a coherent composition. Through a process of sketching, photographing, drawing, transferring, redrawing, and then carving, the composition evolves into a flowing, expressionistic story. The images are of myself and my loved ones, stripped and placed in abstracted space. They reveal their relationships through body language and the interactions which develop between them and the personas of the psyche. They vibrantly pursue the tipping point between self and other. By representing this search, I interpret the world around me. My hope is that these images illuminate our dependence on one another and revive the mystical aspect of every particle we see.
Nathaniel Benjamin approaches printmaking and painting through a surrealistic lens, examining the interaction between self and other. Raised mostly in the Midwest, the religious environment of his formative years inspired him to study mysticism and mythology. With this foundation, his artwork seeks to bridge the spiritual and carnal, representing the human figure in an environment as mental as it is physical. Currently, he is studying to earn a BFA at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has actively shown his work in the Great Basin for two years, including recent exhibitions at Saint Mary’s Art Center, Sierra Arts Gallery, and UNR’s Student Galleries South. In addition to studying fine art, he works as a sign artist for local businesses.