Ben Boothby‘s paintings seek to articulate memory, in particular the architectural memory of place, his pictures an attempt to capture that amorphous place we go to when looking back. The places we visit in our minds eye; our history and our past.
Memory shifts, it ebbs and flows, our emotional state transposing itself onto the pictures we conjure up, and its this liminal space that Boothby travels into, explores through meticulous drawing in search of clarification, of wanting to distil both the emotional and physical aspects of a building, a place, a meaningful landscape that he once trod upon. In many ways it’s an impossible task yet Boothby is relentless in his quest for this otherworld in which his past self lives, each picture rooted in a past yet shaped by the present.
Having studied realism and academic painting Boothby has moved beyond his educational training and into an abstract realm, each painting beginning with a loose architectural drawing based on the memory of a specific place before being transferred onto a silkscreen. From this formality comes expression; his gestural markings, splattering of paint and blocking of colour giving breath to the angular picture plane, the free flow of intangible thought bringing life to these spaces, these containers of his past. This juxtaposition of styles and processes brings his rational mind and artistic expression together in a psychological harmony that brings renewed vigour to his history and the narrative of his story. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
Memory is made of layers of spatial ambiguities and shifting degrees of focus, scattered with representational details. Memory is in flux, when we try to pin it down to examine the details, it will not sit still. I strive to capture the pulsation of a memory as it vibrates in self-contradictions.
The other key visual characteristic of memory is repetition. It is the way we strengthen memories, and its layered associative nature becomes a series of looping visuals. Every painting begins by rebuilding a specific architectural space from memory to create a full perspective line drawing.