Art review: Benjamin Britton at Ruth Bachofner Gallery
The paintings on view in “Prevailing Conditions,” Benjamin Britton’s second solo show at Ruth Bachofner Gallery, are brassy, internally spring-loaded abstractions that have the feel of being much bigger than they are. Fragmented nearly to the point of pictorial dishevelment — pattern upon pattern, gesture upon gesture, with vague allusions to recognizable forms strewn in among heaps of indeterminate strokes and swirls — they manage to contain the energy of an impact: a fevered, climactic coming together that only just precedes a falling apart.
It is a winning palette, more than anything, that keeps the paintings contained. Energetically varied and deliciously nuanced, bold without being gaudy or simplistic, Britton’s use of color has an intriguing edge, a confident, indissoluble character that carries the chaos with apparent ease.
-- Holly Myers
Ruth Bachofner Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., G2, Santa Monica, (310) 829-3300 through Feb. 25. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.ruthbachofnergallery.com
Image: Benjamin Britton, "A Treasured Ability to Set Fires and Feed Them," 2011. From Ruth Bachofner Gallery.