Kristopher Benedict "TREE STREETS"
May 13, 2018
The paintings in Kristopher Benedict’s ‘Tree Streets’ take as their subject the suburban landscape and the artist’s subjective experience of it. Like the suburbs, the paintings can be characterized by constant transitions and shifting contexts. A feeling of precariousness and disconnectedness is pervasive in spite of friendly and familiar trappings.
‘Tree Streets’ presents imagery (often homes, telephone poles, tree lines, strolling ﬁgures) and abstract painting structures that are constructed and dismantled throughout the painting process. The sense of dislocation that Benedict creates in the work is an apt point of entry, and is seen both as a representation of physical spaces apart from others – the city’s outskirts, the public park, and the artist’s studio, for example – and as a psychological state. Another point of departure for the work is the genre of landscape painting, which often proposes a shared point of view between the viewer and the artist, and seeks to offer a welcoming expanse of illusionistic depth to be surveyed.
‘Tree Streets’ presents a vision of the landscape genre that does not provide this traditional entry point. Instead, these paintings look to create a dialogue between familiarity and uncertainty, as layers of paint simultaneously obscure what was previously legible and coalesce into new arrangements. ‘Tree Streets’ connects to the artist’s biography and ﬁnd him interpreting his newfound life in suburbs in a way that is both critical and empathetic. Benedict lives in Philadelphia and teaches painting at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.