Residency: January-February 2012
|Artwork created prior to residency|
Ben Altman began to think of himself as an artist some ten years ago – in his late forties – after a varied career that included towing icebergs, professional sailboat racing, and commercial photography. He explores political, social, and personal issues using his body, community, and way of life, often through self-imposed difficulties and absurdity. He has long been intrigued by the specious veracity, seductive power, and conceptual tensions of photographs. These concerns have led him to mixed media and interdisciplinary work: hand-made multiple and segmented prints supported by a variety of materials and objects; installations that use his skills in rigging, carpentry, and contraptions; and now video installations. He invites audience manipulation of and participation in his work, sometimes using the internet. He builds community and connections through audience participation in projects and trading schemes. He is interested and active in using art to create connections between communities within his local area of Ithaca, NY.
Ben Altman is a member of the recently formed 2×2 collective, four artists who met through NYFA’s MARK program. The collective finds common ground in their disparate uses of the figure at intersections of the social/political/personal.
They create objects, interactive and sculptural installations, video, and street performances. Their figures have agency, empower viewers as centers of process and experience, and co-opt them as complicit participants. We complicate and push against dichotomies and hierarchies: self/other, perpetrator/victim, rural/urban, black/white, family/stranger, performer/observer.
At Sculpture Space, 2X2 is developing a collaborative installation for Gallery Aferro in Newark, NJ, which we will install immediately following our residency. The show will run from March 10th to April 14th, 2012. (http://www.aferro.org)