Copyright © 2002, Photographic Resource Center, Inc.
Ben Gest portrays everyday domestic scenes using friends and family. Viewers are plunged into his scenes, which appear to be slowly unfolding right before one’s eyes. At first glance, one apprehends the whole, and then gradually individual gestures and meaningful minutiae emerge. Each of the figures seems lost in their own world, concentrating mostly on his or her own actions or thoughts. Gest’s working method relates to and expands upon his artistic aim; that is, to call into question and remove a single point of view. To create his arrangements, he captures between 10-30 frames of film that he then scans and composites in the computer.
Ben Gest was born in Caldwell, NJ, and earned a BA from Rutgers University. Gest received his MFA in 2002 from Columbia College (Chicago, IL), where he is currently an Adjunct Professor. Recent solo shows include Ben Gest’s Pictures at Daiter Contemporary (Chicago, IL) and 12x12 New Artists – New Work at The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL). He is included in many collections in Chicago, including The Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the LaSalle Bank Collection. This past summer, he participated in Light Work’s artists-in-residence program in Syracuse, NY. Gest is represented by Daiter Contemporary.
My pictures describe tenuous moments between people sharing their lives together in their homes. These ambiguous narratives of personal and simple everyday activities describe the way people sometimes disengage from those closest to them. They are an outgrowth of my interest in photography's potential to tell the story of human life while considering its ability to create objective truth.
These photographs are creations of familiar and perhaps anticlimactic events. The struggle one faces in maintaining a sense of self is made more difficult because those who affect us most are the very people we love. How do people maintain their own psychological self when the physical space between them is so close?
- Ben Gest