“Soviet Boxer” (2006)
Dimensions: 48″ x 60″
Media: acrylic and charcoal on heavy weight paper in frame
Fair Market Value: $3,000
Minimum Bid Amount: $1,200
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“Icon of Humanity With Flaws Forgiven” (2009-2010)
Media: wood, collage, paint, hat
Fair Market Value: $500
Minimum Bid Amount: $350
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“Continental Shift” (2007)
Dimensions: 48″ x 72″
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Fair Market Value: $$5,500
Minimum Bid Amount: $2,750
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While working in the studio there are moments where the one-ness of the universe appears, a painting silently exploding. It runs through me with all the possibilities it holds. Thoughts, feelings, images, and ideas, interact with the physicality of happening color and form, and I am brought to laughter/ taken with tears.
My analogy for this happening is: the chicken and the egg, the painting and the idea…
When a painting becomes a hyphen between things, rather than an attempt to replicate those specific things, other possibilities open up in the mind as well as the mind’s eye. It may take a second look. It may take a moment of feeling lost. But it may also offer a moment of transcendence, and that, is invaluable.
Whether portrait, suggestive landscape, or seemingly non-objective synthesized abstraction, my work is made in hopes of being about something, rather than to be paintings of something.
Mark Twain once wrote in a prologue, “This book will not make mention of the weather” and I thought, now that’s impossible. Sometime later, I suddenly found myself raining down on canvases, watching puddles of color interact, and calling it “the weather or not”. I now can see some weather or not in everything.
Benjamin M. Betsalel was born in Berkeley California and moved several times in his youth before settling in Asheville in 1990. By the age of 18, his work had gained national recognition and his portrait “Boy Looking Away” received an American Visions award (Scholastic Art and Writing Awards), and was displayed in the Corcoran gallery in Washington DC. In 1999 Betsalel received a scholarship from the Asheville Area Arts Alliance for continuing arts education, which led to his first solo exhibition at the Asheville Area Arts Council gallery before heading to Savannah College of Art and Design. After studying at SCAD for one year, he transferred to University of North Carolina at Asheville where he studied art and played division 1 soccer. In 2002 Betsalel took a semester abroad to study water based painting at the University College Chester, England, and in 2004 graduated from UNCA as a university research scholar with a Batchelor’s in Art.
Since 2004 Betsalel has been a full time artist, making paintings, having exhibitions, and working on commissions. In 2007 he was invited by sculptor/metal artist John Payne to take over the Wedge Gallery, a great space to make, view and sell his art in Asheville’s River Arts District. This twist of fate afforded him the opportunity to travel abroad, meet new people, visit galleries and museums, write essays, poems and songs, play guitar, sketch and most importantly, make new paintings.
For 3 months in 2008, Betsalel set up a studio in Dakar, Senegal (west Africa). There he made many paintings and portraits of people he met, resulting in an article in the daily newspaper of Dakar, la Quotidien, also leading to an opportunity to paint a large mural for a hotel in Mbour, 20 yards from the sea.
2009 saw Betsalel in Geneva, Switzerland for four months of painting and writing, where he worked on several commissions and a solo exhibition at a Russian teahouse, la Samovar. Betsalel is currently working on commissions and painting in the studio, developing several bodies of work for upcoming exhibitions.