by Ben Blatt
My recent watercolor paintings focus on enclosures set in abandoned architectural spaces. Bell jars, fountains, terrariums, monuments, and medallions serve as incubators for evocative botanical worlds. In these spaces I create safe houses for propagation. My controlled environments are ideal for growing and preserving a climate. Through these settings, notions of paradox are explored: upside down architecture over-waters plants; leaves open to receive foreign crystalline-mechanical structures; water is both frozen and flowing; carved stone crawls with veins, vast mountain ranges are somehow contained. Life overtakes life, perpetuating cycles of life and death.
I choose to work primarily with the patient medium of watercolor, allowing subtle atmospheric life to fade in and out of precious worlds within worlds. I can render and blur with subsequent layers to create a feeling of memory and nostalgia. Although I mine past ideals of art history (Rococo, Symbolism, Wunderkammen, Romanticism, etc.) I intentionally use a palette that suggests a contemporary lens: shifts in CMYK colors evoke digital misprints, psychedelic patterns destabilize centralized imagery and color fields crack open spontaneously. Modern imaging technology provides me with patterns unknown before the last twenty years. Cell structures based on scans from electron microscopes act as cobblestone. Shapes and patterns disconnect from form, creating frictions in receding perspective. I try to entangle within all the detail and visual delight, a sense of reality slipping away, opening floodgates of the subconscious. My hope is that the intimate images induce a desire to climb within, to preserve what memories remain, before they fade away.