Simon & Schuster
NINH Medical Clinic
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ESSAY ABOUT THE ARTIST IN CONTEXT OF HIS SOLO SHOW
" LOOKING SO HARD FOR A PLACE TO LAND, I ALMOST FORGOT HOW TO FLY"
Daniel Benayun’s solo show, “Looking So Hard for a Place to Land I Almost Forgot How to Fly,” features more than forty works produced over the past year and a half. Within the collection, series include graphic paintings depicting personally significant figures through advertising layouts, intricate allegorical
compositions, and Benayun’s Wonder Cans. Storytelling through original poems, songs, and other musings contribute the immersive world of Benayun’s artworks. Each work in the collection is a fragment of a familiar reality freshly reimagined into boundless moments from the past, or perhaps future, of some surreal alternate timeline.
Benayun has spent his entire adult life as a full time painter. Alongside developing personal projects, his diverse client work has made up much of his career, which has impacted his artistic approach. Even in this collection, glimpses of Benayun’s commercial work are present, including integrations of product design, typography, and elements of abandoned client work; thus, the lines between his unconstrained paintings and commissioned products blur to produce candidly intimate artworks.
The medium of choice used throughout the collection is gouache. Gouache was popularized in the early twentieth century among commercial artists tasked with sign painting and illustrating products for advertising. Gouache allowed artists to break away from the slow pace of oil paint and transition into a new period of industrialization. In addition to using the quintessential medium of this bygone era, Benayun also incorporates the bold lines and technicolor palettes of early advertising. Rather than using these elements to promote products, however, Benayun deconstructs the consumeristic form and utilizes typography to share introspective thoughts, profound ideas, and heartfelt poetry.
Along with these commercial influences, Benayun grew up mesmerized by various ephemera of the past
century—predominately comic books. These comics presented thrilling worlds of dynamic heroes and enchanting tales. The harmonious partnership of striking imagery with captivating narrative sparked a passion in young Benayun and set him on his artistic path; this companionship of both visual and written components continues to be an inherent trait of his body of work. Benayun also spent much of his childhood exploring antique malls and estate sales, observing the design and style of a time before modern automation streamlined the character and beauty out of our environment. Together, these esoteric inspirations have contributed to the anachronistic nostalgia of Benayun’s work and propelled him into his journey of forging his own dream realm.
This world of Benayun’s own making exists only through the stories of his forebears and his own contributions from personal adversities and revelations. Manifestations of his family members, immigrants who lived unapologetically as freemasons and painters, appear as protagonists in various artworks. Ubiquitous themes, including loss, independence, and various mental health struggles, take form through compelling figures and curious scenes.
In the eponymous painting “Looking So Hard for a Place to Land I Almost Forgot How to Fly,” a woman is parachuting from the sky, floating towards a bustling landscape below. The anticipation of such a daunting descent is enough to keep one’s eyes fixed on the ground, anxious for the fall; nevertheless, this parachuter holds an upward gaze and is present with the moment in motion, even as she draws so near to landing among those waiting for her. This painting is an allegory for mindfulness, recalling the many moments that are overlooked or spoiled while we incessantly anticipate the future with uneasiness. This painting and the others in the show reflect the artist’s beliefs about the world around us. He hopes you savor moments spent reading his stories and observing the collection as you experience
this world with him.
About The Artist: Daniel Benayun was born in Israel and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. He lives and works in Jamaica Plain as a full time painter, freelance designer, and art instructor. His work has been featured in publications such as Juxtapoz magazine and The Boston Globe; his clientele includes
Simon & Schuster, Red Bull, Beehive Books, and Misguided Spirits.
Press + Praise
"Daniel Benayun’s work is extraordinary. His skill is multifaceted, his intuition daring, & his execution crisp. Benayun can create portraits muscular in color, and collages of such inspired textural sensibility it sends the viewer into reverie. Cheeky & elegant all at once, his work reflects a focused playfulness, whose wild & heartfelt pulse I admire. He swims boldly in the muse’s current, pulling up from the depths odd artifacts from another world: vibrant, shimmering, & truly his own.”
"You may have noticed that over long periods of time certain kinds of literary works attract certain kinds of artists who so fall in love with the narrative and the characters that they create, works of enduring art to illustrate them and that out of their passion they create images that become iconic in history. By iconic I mean that the literary text and the images become fused in such a way that is difficult, close to impossible to think of them as separate entities. Take Alice in Wonderland. The mind rebels at the thought that Alice could look different from the one created by Sir John Tenniel for Lewis Carrol's immortal character. Other associations are less strong. For example Dante's Inferno has famously been illustrated by both Gustav Dore and Salvador Dali, yet there was room for Michal Mazur, an important Boston artist to reinterpret the entire inferno from his own, different, American perspective.Daniel Benayun is a young Bostonian artist who has the courage and the talent to challenge even iconic images such as Dr. Heinrich Hoffman's Der Struwwelpeter,(1845) and to substitute for them his own willful portrayals. Some of these pictures for example a boy with his wooden horse are as compelling as our dreams of our childhood, arbitrary, bizarre, humorous, and far enough removed frm our expectations to be unique and memorable.Daniels work is creative and experimental but already recognizably his own. In writing an art review one sometimes addresses a specific audience, namely that of collectors, young artists such as Daniel Benayun offer an attractive opportunity for collectors, because as the artists mature and achieve fame, their early works gain value. I believe that this will be the case with Daniel's paintings and illustrations.
Introduction for Daniel Benayun By Artist & Professor Dr Hans Guggenheim
"Daniel Benayun's collages are like peculiar and whimsical, outsider-art, inside jokes. Layered atop obscure maps or vague and crinkled book pages, these postcards introduce a cast of mythical, and otherwise, characters along with an impressive postage stamp collection, through illustration and craft. The pieces are steeped with an endearing dose of what seems to be the recollection of a boyhood fascination with knights, sea life and European and early American history. Benayun's work is currently on view in the group show, Artageddon, at The Distillery Gallery in Boston. The exhibition consciously features the work of over twenty artists from Boston and elsewhere, all of whom are currently without gallery representation. Along with Benayun, the show will exhibit the work of Vanessa Irzyk, Kristen Mills, Josh Falk and Fish McGill, among many others. Daniel Benayun is currently a student at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited recently in a solo presentation at Sowa Gallery in Boston and at several other venues in Boston, MA and New Hampshire. As an illustrator, he has recently been commissioned by the New Hampshire Institute of Art and musician Shai Erlichman."
Allison Gibson, Writer for Daily Servings International Contemporary Art website
"Honestly, merely browsing around Harrison Ave, you and one other painter really stood out. You seem to be jamming out the work according to your site, and we are just really excited to have someone who maintains a vast level of enthusiasm through his work."
Robert daVies/ Scott Chasse, Curator and Directors of The Distillery Gallery in Boston
"For many 20-year-olds, letters and stamps are communication dinosaurs, but Daniel Benayun celebrates them in his solo exhibit, Postage. Through collages and paintings, the young artist hopes to restore an appreciation for letter writing and make folks aware of the historical importance of postage stamps. Benayuns collages incorporate old letters and ephemeral artifacts that serve as a map of social history. So, why not leave your hand-held communicator at home and step back in time." -
June Wulff, Writer for the Boston Globe Newspaper Arts, Entertainment section