Leviathan is a solo exhibition of new works by Ben Howe. Exploring biblical imagery, gothic motifs and specific character tropes from Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick, Howe reflects on the contemporary tendency of favouring endless expansion, narcissism, and personal fulfilment over the environment.
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Opening reception: Saturday, November 2nd, from 6–9 pm. Free entry. Howe will be in attendance.
This exhibition runs from November 3rd to November 24th, alongside Kylie Dexter's guest curated group show, Come Undone.
Neither benign nor malevolent, Leviathan does not judge, but stands as a manifestation of fate; as real and certain as a God. This exhibition sets a group of people floating in the vast depths of the ocean, a place where we are at our most fragile, and completely at the mercy of the natural world. Within this metaphoric flux, the choices made have immediate and devastating consequences, with the spectre of ‘leviathan’ representing the inevitable end, a force which both corrupts and motivates.
Leviathan also looks into the motivations and destructive inclinations of monomania, and the danger of inescapably following a self-propelling ideology. Although apparent in many of todays leaders, Howe has examined this in a particularly introspective way, using replicas of himself as the protagonist. He has developed a signature aesthetic that is at once hyper-realistic yet deeply concerned by the poetics of form and symbolism.
Howe has used hand-made sculptures and collage to create the imagery for these paintings, lending the artworks a timeless, ambiguous and tactile quality. This slow and deliberate process combines the opposing notions of documentation and imagination.
The paintings will also be used in a new publication of the Literary classic, Moby Dick, by Waterbell Publishing: to be released early in 2020.
Ruin - Oil painting by Ben Howe for Leviathan.
Ben Howe (Australia) was born in London. Over the course of two decades, he has explored the nature of consciousness, his own personal history and the incongruities of memory through his artwork in a career which has taken him to England, Germany, China and the USA. He holds a Master of Fine Art (with Distinction) from RMIT University and is the recipient of numerous grants, international residencies and fellowships. Action, isolation and refraction surface as thematic currents in the practice of an artist whose work functions as a platform for broader considerations relating to the physical and subjective self within contemporary society.
Ben Howe painting in his studio.