BEN STEELE, paintings

November 25 - December 22, 2017


C O D A  GALLERY PRESENTS
BEN STEELE • NEW WORK

NOV 25 - DEC 22, 2017

 

PALM DESERT, CA — CODA Gallery honors one of its best-selling painters with a solo exhibition and artist reception at the gallery’s 31st season opening celebration on Nov. 25. An art history buff, Ben Steele imbues in his paintings tongue-in-cheek references to predecessors such as Leonardo da Vinci, Edgar Degas, Marc Chagall, and Jeff Koons. On many occasions, he has melded famed artists — Georges Seurat, Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, et al. — with crayons. 

He describes his work as “kind of realist or representational oil paintings, usually with a theme [in addition to crayons, he favors the Etch-a-Sketch and gumball machine]. The subject matter may vary greatly, but it weaves in history and pop culture. "I love sampling through the past and combining things.” When he is asked to name his favorite artist, Ben usually says Johannes Vermeer. But (and undoubtedly more consistent with his own artistic ethos), he notes, “It’s somewhere between Vermeer and [Andy] Warhol.” 

The juxtaposition of the studious Dutch painter of intimate moments in middle-class society and the irreverent American artist exploiting commercialism and celebrity status speaks to Ben’s beguiling marriage of style and subject. For example, one of his odes to Vermeer shows the iconic milkmaid in the midst of the sitcom Cheers bar. He employs that approach for this month’s exhibition at CODA Gallery: Nov. 25-Dec. 22, with a reception for the artist from 5 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 25.

For this show, he is bringing paintings highlighting desert landscapes. One work serves as a riff on MGM’s Gone with the Wind poster in a mashup of sorts, with a motel sign like the Route 66 landmark of Roy’s in Amboy and windmills on the fiery night horizon. Another work offers a parody on David Hockney’s swimming pool theme with a Palm Springs-labeled water bottle on a diving board. “Most of the time, I feel like I honor my subjects, but I absolutely am not above making fun of them,” Ben says.


Ben’s greatest fear is being insignificant. “I do art for some sense of permanence in an impermanent world,” he says. “The best compliment I could receive from others is that my work enriches their life in some way.”
 

Palm Springs Water Palm Springs Water
Oil on canvas
2017
44 x 34 inches
 
Madame X Perfume Madame X Perfume
Oil on canvas
2017
30 x 20 inches
 
O the Wind Motel O the Wind Motel
Oil on canvas
2017
44 x 40 inches
SOLD
 
Spectrum Spectrum
Oil on canvas
2017
20 x 60 inches
 
Saturday Evening Dairy_ Autumn Saturday Evening Dairy: Autumn
Oil on canvas
2017
24 x 36 inches
 
Perfect Ten Perfect Ten
Oil on canvas
2017
21 x 49 inches
 
Trump Power Trump Power
Oil on canvas
2017
36 x 24 inches
SOLD
 
Office and Four Girls Office and Four Girls
Oil on canvas
2017
40 x 44 inches
 
Warhol Drawing Crayons Warhol Drawing Crayons
Oil on canvas
2017
72 x 48 inches
SOLD
 
Corvette Crayons Corvette Crayons
Oil on canvas
2017
44 x 34 inches
 
Spilled Milk Spilled Milk
Oil on canvas
2017
30 x 20 inches
SOLD
 
Superman Crayons Superman Crayons
Oil on canvas
2017
36 x 24 inches
 
Sketch it Again Sketch it Again
Oil on panel with fiberglass
2017
24 x 29 x 4 inches
SOLD
 
Gold Rush Gumballs Gold Rush Gumballs
Oil on canvas
2016
60 x 48 inches
 
United States of Pop United States of Pop
Oil on canvas
2017
48 x 60 inches
 
Modernist Motel Modernist Motel
Oil on canvas
2016
20 x 30 inches
 
Cubist Gumballs Cubist Gumballs
Oil on canvas
2016
50 x 40 inches
 
Pack of Pollock Pack of Pollock
Oil on canvas
72 x 60 inches
 
Vincent_s Drive In Vincent's Drive In
Oil on canvas
40 x 44 inches
 
Sunfield Sunfield
Oil on canvas
44 x 34 inches