“The wider narrative of my practice channels a prevailing fascination in documenting human identity in relation to ancestry and a breaking down of social constructs. An anthropological foundation, formed from personal experience is a thread in the work, which seeks to question our innate relationship in the present day”
Summers explores the celebration of the individual in his “modern portraits” which draw on the earnestness of our personal stories and struggle. All have begun through conversations and time shared with friends, strangers and people passing through the shifting city space. These revered centre pieces, often accompanied by imaginary characters, cinematic references and childlike symbolism bestow a fluctuating and layered approach to painting. The often abstract habitats are a reference to earlier bodies of work, guided by a childhood fascination with street art and the 1948-51 European Avant Guarde movement, the CoBrA group.
Ultimately these paintings carry a profound sense of quiet rebellion for each of the chosen models. The question of conquering individual and social fear in 2016 and beyond, is one that continues to be explored through a practice for which the boundless possibilities of painting remain a foundation.
Born in 1981 In Cuckfield, Ben spent a large part of his childhood living across Europe due his father’s military occupation, including Malta, Belgium and Germany before eventually settling outside of Bath in the west of England. These early experiences have shaped much of the foundation for Ben’s work and the continuous thread of documenting people within shifting cultural landscapes. Graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2003, Ben went onto work in youth arts education, using art to inspire hard to reach young people before a career in music promotions and commercial illustration. Ben reignited his practice in 2010 under a new creative alias and currently lives and works in North London.