Painter Benjamin Edwards has spent the last several years exploring what he calls "the architecture of suburbia"---the structural and design forms found in strip malls, fast-food joints, gas stations, motels and other familiar citadels of consumerism. Accompanying the architecture is what Edwards refers to as "the iconography of the roadway"---those commercial signs, symbols, colors and artificial elements juxtaposed with the natural scene or environment.
In order to gather material for his work, Edwards has taken a number of cross-country automobile trips, searching out the "roadside life that almost exists in a separate channel." Along the way, he takes photos with his digital camera and keeps detailed logs and diaries containing "location notes," recording where he stops, where he stays, and what he buys.
The digital photos are loaded into his computer. He subsequently selects various elements in the photos, isolates them, and reduces them to the basic geometry found in the subject. Once he makes his selections, he projects the design elements onto a canvas, incorporating as many as three hundred separate photos into a single painting. The result is a conflated composition which becomes emblematic of what he refers to as the "American consumerist utopia."
Benjamin Edwards (b. 1970, Iowa City, Iowa) attended the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence (MFA 1997); the San Francisco Art Institute's graduate painting program (1992); and the University of California, Los Angeles (BA, 1991). He is represented by Artemis Greenburg Van Doren Gallery, New York City (solo exhibitions - 2006, 2004, 2001). His recent solo exhibitions include Ether Studies, Galerie Jean-Luc et Takako (2007) and T)he Sorrows of Democracy, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2008). He participated in the Prague Biennale, in the Czech Republic (2003); and his work has been in numerous group exhibitions in venues such as The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany (2003); Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Gallerie Faurschou, Copenhagen, Denmark; and P.S.#I/MoMA Center for Contemporary Art, Long Island City, New York; Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2008). Edwards lives and works in Washington, D.C.