Michael Benari is a Boston / New York based artist working in black and white, film and digital. His educational training is in science and medicine but ten years ago he decided to commit fully to art and photography. Essentially self-taught, he has drawn inspiration from the lives and works of Minor White, Aaron Siskind, Callum Innes, Richard Serra and many others.
Benari is drawn to the tradition of “street photography” but has chosen to give it his own interpretation, emphasizing more the aesthetic than narrative. The street provides abundant source material from which to create art, and “found art” becomes the vehicle for universalizing the familiar. His love of abstract painting further helped shape and strengthen his vision.
Benari uses the urban landscape to create his own visual language, and in the process, make work not familiar or necessarily embraced. He aims to use visual elements in ways that surprise, and at times, provoke, so as to invite the viewer into new emotional realms. His work seeks not to make happy or sad, but rather to question what we assume to know. His use of abstraction further challenges our understanding of what defines photography today.
Benari has had several individual and group exhibitions, in Boston, New York and Tel Aviv. He has also published four books covering several of the projects completed, most recently “Manhattan Project”. He is currently working on “GREY”, to be published the spring of 2017.
New Mexico Diptychs
In June 2016, I embarked on a two-week road trip, from Denver, Colorado, to Marfa, Texas, covering about 2200 miles of the Southwest. It is a land of wide-open space, big sky, and wonderful light. I was particularly drawn to Marfa, home to the Judd and Chinati Foundations, and found great inspiration from the stark simplicity of minimal art. As an urban photographer, working in black and white, the Southwest presented a unique opportunity to interpret the setting in my own way. Having been influenced in my artistic development by abstract painting, I came to view “Diptychs” as meditations on space, time, light and dark, as well as contrasting dualities in Nature. The adage “all reality is abstract” very much describes my aesthetic and what inspires my work in art and photography. The “Diptychs” represent new voices of my work, signaling a further turn away from representation to abstraction.