West Coast artists Paul Turounet and Brian Benfer are celebrated for their work in photography and ceramics, respectively. The work of these artists shares a concern for the evidence of life history: gesture through form, mark through time. The emotion of action-past is the drumbeat of their shared subtle subject.
Turounet and Benfer will be showing their work together for the first time in “All That Remains,” a new exhibition opening June 4 at jdc Fine Art, located in the Marketplace at Salishan at 7755 N Highway 101, Gleneden Beach. This display will continue through July 31.
Both artists will be present at the gallery on Friday, June 4, and there will be extended hours that day — from 5 to 8 p.m. Regular gallery hours are Wednesdays through Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, from noon to 4 p.m. More information is available by calling 619-985-2322 or emailing email@example.com
Also, on Thursday, June 3, Benfer and Turounet will host a virtual talk with the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. For details on how to access that online presentation, email Tamara Jennings, Sitka programming manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information will also be posted on jdc Fine Art’s website at www.jdcfineart.com
Turounet’s work explores the psychology of place. He is now 10 years into a photographic survey on contemporary America; “Somewhere Out There Something is Happening” catalogs spaces of national history and conscience. Turounet has contemplated numerous sites, each presented as a series of multiple-image vignettes. Unfolding chapters from across the United States compose this rich, nuanced body of work. Evidential studies reveal scenes the artist encountered in such settings as the rolling hills of Wounded Knee, memorials for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the aftermath of a EF5-rated tornado in Joplin, Mo., the remains of Manzinar War Relocation Camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the light streaming through a Mississippi forest where Civil Rights champions met a tragic fate.
Turounet’s practice seeks to honor the history of place through reflection and remembrance. He says to journey and pause in space is as much the focus of his artwork as the pilgrimage, or even the memorial created. Image becomes artifact, the means by which viewers may access and contemplate these same emotions and spaces.
Benfer’s work is more specific and self-referential, yet it is executed in a way that erases hierarchy, the artist says. Subjects and output bear tremendous personal weight, but are rendered in a way to uphold complete anonymity, and even challenging recognition. “We are to be confused so we can learn to question,” he said.
Benfer’s POP (pieces on pedestals) series ephemera of daily life become akin to keepsakes, personal memorials, or totems; some find formal companions and smart perch. Like many of us, Benfer will collect objects of interest and keep them. He can’t deny the beauty of naturally existing objects nor resist the urge to use inversion to elevate and recontextualize such mundane personal treasures as a curled rubber band or a garden lemon and a dried paint roller by placing them atop a thoughtfully executed ceramic pedestal of fired slab-ceramic painted with wall primer (as a “normal pedestal”).
For the show “All That Remains,” works by Turounet and Benfer were chosen that share overlapping formal qualities and conceptual impetus with the intent to urge the viewers’ careful thought and reflection, not only on the spaces and objects they may encounter, but the means by which they encounter them.
About the artists
Paul Turounet received his MFA in photography from the Yale University School of Art in 1995. He has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and two grants from the Trans-Border Institute. He is most celebrated for work along the U.S.-Mexico border, which has exhibited predominantly across the southwestern United States and Mexico. Related handmade artist’s books have been recognized by the Humble Arts Foundation, Paris Photo – Aperture Foundation, and the New York Times. Turounet’s work was first exhibited by jdc Fine Art in 2014. Learn more about the artist at www.jdcfineart.com/artists/paul-turounet-photography
Brian Benfer earned an MFA from Rutgers University in 2003. His interests root in the physical memory and psychological residue objects reveal when contemplated. His work has exhibited widely across the U.S., from Seattle to Houston, Minneapolis to Providence and internationally in Lithuania, and his art has been the subject of notable press, particularly for work in clay. Benfer’s work was included in jdc Fine Art’s recent online exhibition, “You and Yours.” This will be the first presentation of his art in the gallery. To learn more about Benfer’s work, go to www.jdcfineart.com/brian-benfer-contemporary-art