Ben Coutouvidis - Kalk Bay to Karibib

Protea A solo exhibition of artworks by Ben Coutouvidis was on show at Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery from 10 to 26 November 2005.

To view the paintings exhibited click here

Catalogue Foreword

We subconsciously register, and react to, the energy captured in objects during their creation. Given the tremendous amount of concentration, planning and hours of painstaking execution that forms part of the creative process, it comes as no surprise that we very often stand in awe when engaging a special painting or sculpture.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the work of truly great artists has always been the ability to harness the ordinary and mundane in everyday scenes and objects to communicate a particular emotion, mood, atmosphere or even spiritual experience.

During the selection of works for this second solo exhibition of Ben Coutouvidis, I have become very conscious of these aspects of art appreciation. There is an underlying sense of truthful craftsmanship displayed in the accomplished technique of this dedicated painter. At the same time, I have been struck by the different moods and spiritual elements evident in his repertoire of landscapes, street scenes, interiors and still life paintings. Intrigued by Ben’s ability to capture these magical qualities so successfully in such a vast array of subject matter, I posed some questions:

Q: What motivates you to paint?
Ben: The departure point of my paintings is always an encountered and experienced reality that allows for the exploration of different states of mind.

Q: How do you decide what subject matter to paint?
Ben: As my approach to painting is an emotional one, my subject matter has a tendency to be wide ranging - thus recognising that the world is a mirror for internal states.

Q: Where do you believe your art formally or stylistically fits in?
Ben: Painting a ‘real’ scene means that I have developed a rational procedure - a methodology that through continual practise allows for a kind of meditative experience during the act of painting. I would classify myself as a free-range painter, using a wide range of painters past and present as touchstones or temporary guides.

Q: Please explain your use of paint technique?
Ben: My paint application varies according to how appropriate it is to the subject. Recently I have been experimenting with applying paint with hard objects, like sticks – this technique seems to energize the paint surface and adds a sculptural quality. It asserts the painting as a material object.

Q: Is there an underlying philosophy or message in your work?
Ben: My aim as a painter is to try and distil the essence of a place, situation or object. A small still life of a blue bottle with a vygie in it may therefore be representative of the wider Karoo landscape and people’s interaction with it.

Fortunately our appreciation of this collection of seductive, tactile paintings does not have to be as analytical or rational as these questions and answers – please enjoy them.

Johans Borman
October 2005

To view the paintings exhibited click here
To view the Ben Coutouvidis page click here
To view the Artist’s CV click here

© Johans Borman Fine Art