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Play with Me: Ben Godward at Norte Maar

Ben Godward's madness of an art studio is the exact antithesis of Jason Andrew's spotless apartment gallery, Norte Maar

Ben Godward in his studio.

Ben Godward's madness of an art studio is the exact antithesis of Jason Andrew's spotless apartment gallery, Norte Maar. When visiting him in September of 2012, he told me about being a kid in the midwest and going to all-night coffee shops. There, he and his friends would get hopped up on coffee and buy jelly doughnuts. They'd take the doughnuts to Kinko's and smear them across the copy machine's glass to match the speed of the machine's light. Upon paying for the copies the late night clerk would give them a sly smile - aware of the hijinks they'd wrought and the clean up ahead of him.

That clerk's intuition for letting these kids play with color has panned out to be a wise one. If only because Ben has followed this direction into the three-dimensional realm with his fantastical sculptures. Sculptures that have dotted the landscape outside Norte Maar in Beat Nite's and BOS's past. Recently, he's revisited the photocopy work by publishing with Fortress To Solitude. These series of events led ultimately to the exhibition Play at Norte Maar.

Voiltenko vs Berkeley (Image Courtesy of Norte Maar)

The sculpture Voitenko vs Berkeley (contemplations of the imploded past perfect (intremes) is a 5' by 5' by 5' three-part freestanding behemoth. A behemoth completed in just three weeks. Splashes and lines of a painterly quality are held in by glass on the outermost sides. During the opening, Godward encouraged people to stick their heads inside the gaps in the sculpture to see what he had really done. By my estimate, he has taken his natural tendency to layer, build, coat and enlarge his eye-candy sculptures and whipped them into a sleek and modernist form.

Energy Auras (Photo courtesy of Norte Maar)

In the kitchen and office area are pieces unlike what we've grown accustomed to seeing from the artist. A Mountain Dew can painted and speckled with nail polish sat inside a glass case on a perfectly white shelf. Its title: Energy Auras. On the adjacent wall, one of the Fortress To Solitude prints hung of the same can, simply titled Dew. This unassuming bit of curation gives a view of the creative process involved in the non-Photoshop assisted prints.

Dew (Photo courtesy of Norte Maar)

Finally, in the office we encounter more experiments in nail polish. Scratch offs - spent losers at that - are coated in lines that seem to bridge (in miniature) the gap between his sculpture and prints. It's not merely in passing that I note that the scratch offs are not winners - one title says everything - Lightening Don't Even Strike Once.

Lightening Don't Even Strike Once (Photo courtesy of Norte Maar)

Except, I must disagree. I just won $4 on a scratch off and Ben Godward's work has gone somewhere new and exciting.

Squirt (Photo courtesy of Norte Maar)

Further reading:

Check out Bushwick Daily interview with Ben here.

Fortress To Solitude's Q&A + Ben's prints here.

Play: New Work by Ben Godward is up at Norte Maar until March 24. The gallery is open Saturday and Sundays 1-6pm or by appointment.


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