For the past few years my work has been influenced by the time I spent in a part-time job at local Home Depots. As I walked around the store, in my mind’s eye, I saw colors, shapes, patterns, lighting and objects that came together to create what I called a “paintable moment.” I photographed these images with an iPhone and then used the photos as a tool to re-create everyday retail objects as bold expressions of color and composition. My intent was not to portray an exact interpretation, but to create a sense of delight in having the viewer see the object(s) and the abstraction. I seek to maintain a painterly quality to the work, while sometimes using a “mash-up” composition to avoid a realistic tag.
In my art, I wish to express something positive, artistically serious, and perhaps a little whimsical. But with these five paintings I wanted to use my sense of imagery and style to highlight the unique circumstances of these challenging times.
As the pandemic has stayed with us and our lives are still disrupted, I just finished Adapting to Our Flattened Lives to express the way our living situations seem only two-dimensional now. Watching an early season baseball game was the powerful inspiration for this work.
WE HANG TOGETHER! was the first painting I did during the lockdown. It uses imagery I found in the store. I thought the message of strength and unity was much needed earlier in the year.
Early into the quarantine, it was unlikely that people were shopping in the stores and I felt that retail imagery was inappropriate. Gotta Have Gloves was created after seeing a bunch of latex gloves fall out of the box that I had just opened. I did create a mash-up of my own arrangement.
Kills Germs was an attempt to use retail imagery that was relevant to the pandemic.
With a lot of time on my hands, I created For the Tasks at Hand, to reflect on some of the many issues I feel were not being addressed to better our world. Like WE HANG TOGETHER!, it did use retail imagery from the store.
Copyright © 2020 Bennett Gewirtz
Bennett Gewirtz lives in Marlboro, New Jersey. He graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a BA in Liberal Arts and did his graduate studies at Pratt Institute. About 10 years ago he started studying life drawing at the Art Students League of New York and continued for three years. He started painting five years ago and began the current Home Depot series three years ago. A graphic designer by trade for the past 30 years, he is now focusing more on his painting and drawing. His work has been accepted for juried and non-juried exhibits.