Exhibition: Ben Crawford, Eighty Eight Miles Per Hour
"The idea for this show started with a memory: when I was a little boy in Ireland, I went to a forest with my older brother and some of his friends. A discarded jerrycan had been discovered with a little petrol left inside. Somebody thought to recreate the fire trails made by the DeLorean in the Back to the Future movies. The last drops of petrol were poured out in two lines and matches were thrown. In my mind, the whole event is so vivid and yet hazy at the same time- almost dream like.
As an image, I thought it would make a great painting. But then I began to consider the greater narrative possibilities of revisiting moments in ones life and trying to capture that same dream like quality. The act of painting could almost be a device to transport myself and others to those places and events.
Even though these paintings are quite nostalgic, they are also tinged with a sense of regret in some cases and feelings of contentment and joy in others, which I suppose, if it were possible to time travel, would be the reasons you would revisit your past."
Ben Crawford is a figurative painter. He mostly paints about his life, exploring the story telling possibilities of distorted memories and dreams. Surreal elements transform the landscapes he paints into somewhat mystical realms, bursting with colour and charged with mystery. Figures, architecture and landmarks drawn from his life imbue Ben’s paintings with a sense of narrative, anchoring his work tentatively to reality.
Born in Cork, Ireland, Ben studied painting at CCAD and graduated with a first class honours degree in fine art in 2007. He now lives with his wife and two daughters in southern Queensland in Australia, painting from his studio situated in the verdant landscape of Currumbin Valley.
These paintings are vignettes, loosely connected by the fact that they depict memories and events from my life. From hazy childhood dreams, to life as a father and everything in between.