Paul Stephen Benjamin

b. 1966, Chicago
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Atlanta-based multimedia artist Paul Stephen Benjamin features the color black prominently in his large-scale obsolete television installations and portraiture. His installations display images and audio from Black icons Billie Holiday, Lil Wayne, Condoleeza Rice, Beyonce, Eldridge Cleaver and Nina Simone. Focusing on the connotations of the color black in society, culture and language, Benjamin discusses the absence and presence of color. Black figures and backgrounds circulate through sounds and music by Black individuals, creating a multidimensional Black color palette that evolves with each installation. Like the television installations, Benjamin’s pictures of Black men entrance viewers. Different vantage points obscure or make visible subtle, unique features of eyes, hair, and composure. Oscillating between a portrait and a mug shot, these paintings reflect Benjamin’s personal and communal investigation of the dynamics of identity, power, and authority. With these portraits, Benjamin creates a Black narrative through the images of everyday men that create room for dialogue and contemplation.

Paul Stephen Benjamin earned a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MFA from Georgia State University. In mid-2021, Benjamin exhibited an installation of stacked televisions and monitors in The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. The exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX; Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Bentonville, AR; and Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver, CO. Later in 2021, Benjamin will participate in Yesterday We Said Tomorrow, a Prospect.5 exhibition taking place throughout New Orleans, LA. Before the end of the year, he will participate in a residency in Morocco, and is slated for a solo exhibition in 2022 at Davidson College in Davidson, NC. Other exhibitions include State of the Art 2020, Crystal Bridges Museum and The Momentary, Bentonville, AR; Great Force, Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; Reinterpreting the Sound of Blackness, Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA; and Black is the Color, High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

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digital photograph on archival paper on diabond, 36x46
2015-18
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digital photograph on archival paper on diabond, 36x46
2015-18
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digital photograph on archival paper on diabond, 36x46
2015-18
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digital photograph on archival paper on diabond, 36x46
2015-18

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