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The Break Age

Benjamin Zellmer Bellas

Benjamin Zellmer Bellas

Slow is proud to present The Break Age
Three and a half solo shows of artwork by Benjamin Zellmer Bellas
May 23 - June 13, 2015

Benjamin Zellmer Bellas has unexpectedly turned to art processes. He cast bronze and silver. Hammered gold; put a patina on cast iron. He refers to craft history through ceramics, hand dyed fabrics, and glass. Still in a Benjamin kind of way. Art and not art at the same time. Domestic object and esoteric museum artifact. 

Started with a christening cup, a family heirloom, melted it down and cast the source of a spring. The casting becomes an idiosyncratic gesture developed from what the cup is designed to do: include a newborn child in a legacy that looks to history and lineage and looks forward to the child’s place in familial progression. Benjamin shifts christening away from church community in favor those who embrace science, art, technology and humanist connection. Lets us encounter a spring’s source transmogrified into an object whether the child or her birth means anything to us. Lets us boggle at birth, at the beginning, at the source. Makes really good use of a Courbet reference to the origins of life (how do you keep that subtle, and yet it is). The resultant objects can live comfortably back in the same quaint living room that formerly displayed the cup before the meltdown. He’s transgressed the religious implication of naming but respected every nuance. He’s secularized in a manner that keeps mysterious wonder, and he’s updated in a mode that invites and invokes the old and traditional ways.

Each piece has its own complex journey of transformation. The sense of thingness is fragile. Can break for a host of reasons. The paradoxical opposite is that after every component of a thing has lost its challenge, has changed, there it is. The remnant is still itself. Benjamin uses keepsakes and otherwise significant objects as his art materials. He does things to transform–re-cast, ferment, translate, move, consume. The thing is surely touched by its journey, the phase change. Good in the way a perfect Armagnac is good, aged to the very best stage of development. The strong stuff. A huge bump of heat, but nuanced with fruity sweetness and bitter spice. Not for everyone because it demands focus and more than a bit of experience, but for the connoisseur it hits the depth and complexity that nothing else can satisfy.

Artist Receptions:
slow, 2153 W 21st Street, May 23, 6-9pm
Modest Contemporary, 3259 S Union, May 30, 6-9pm
DO Mus, 658 W 28th Street, June 6, 6-9pm
Clutch will be at all three receptions.