Published on October 21st, 2022 | Posted in Events and Exhibitions

Questroyal is pleased to be exhibiting paintings by emerging artist, Ben Hazen. Abstraction of Reality: Still-Life and Interior Paintings by Benjamin Hazen will be on view from October 18th to November 5th.

Benjamin Hazen, Still Life #2 – Red, 2022, Oil on canvas, 28 x 68 inches

Hazen creates contemplative paintings, depicting familiar objects and spaces from unusual perspectives that evoke themes of loneliness and disorientation. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a winner of the Judith McGregor Caldwell Purchase Prize—a prestigious award given by the Pennsylvania Academy for a uniquely significant artwork worthy of inclusion in their permanent collection. Works from this early period of Hazen’s career, from 2000 to 2006, depict an interior space with hard architectural lines juxtaposed with a soft crumpled cloth isolated in a pile. Hazen refers to these paintings as self-portraits, which reference the loneliness and insecurity he has felt.

Benjamin Hazen, Closet #4, 2004, Oil on canvas, 24 x 56 inches

Despite the recognition of his early works, Hazen stopped painting in 2007, choosing to enter a degree program in art therapy and counseling at Drexel University. He pursued this professional practice for a decade and worked primarily with underserved communities in Philadelphia. However, in 2020, Hazen returned to painting following inspiration for a new perspective on the tradition of still-life painting.

Benjamin Hazen, Office #2, 2006, Oil on canvas, 18 x 68 inches

His unsettling still-life images place the viewer beneath a glass table cluttered with familiar objects that obscure the viewer’s sightline. The artist, now rededicated to his art, lives in isolation devoting his time to his paintings. He employs the technique of indirect painting, adding as many as dozens of thin, translucent layers of paint to the canvas and taking as long as a year to finish each piece.

Reflecting on his work, Hazen suggests that his earlier paintings explored his own sense of alienation while his new paintings look outward, seeking that which is beyond the material world.