Visioning a new world from the life we know, Benjy Russell’s “You’re on new bridges made of home (you found the light in a dark poem)” presents an engrossing mid-career retrospective from the acclaimed rural gay artist and his dynamic photographic, sculptural, and video practice.
Russell transforms Wilder into a tri-dimensional exploration of his familiar themes. Beginning with “Terra” on the ground floor, Russell traces the presence of humanity through the natural world. His signature ornate oral sculptures pull viewers into the raw beauty of landscape, while video feedback loops and photographic installation launch the work into new dimensions.
On the second floor, “The Human Condition,” a chronicle of love, friendship, and death orients us back to the question of what it means to be human. Drawing from Russell’s collaborative work with artists such as Rya Kleinpeter and the writer T Fleischmann, this level brings ecstasy, grief, and magic into alchemical relation.
The final level arrives to “The Theory of Next,” launching the audience into a multidimensional dream space in which life, death, and time all take on new meanings. Infused with psychedelic visuals and science- fiction themes, the work culminates in a final optical feedback loop in which the viewer herself becomes the subject of the art.
Russell’s work, rooted in the Southern landscape,has been displayed and celebrated across the world. “You’re on new bridges made of home (you found the light in a dark poem)” finally brings that work together in one location, offering an exploration of light, joy, community, and the natural world that is unique in its scope of beauty, its aesthetic insight, and the power of human connection that it offers.
Benjy Russell was born in rural Oklahoma, and currently resides in rural Tennessee, where he has found a thriving and diverse community of queer and trans people and collaborators. He is compelled by the conversation that happens at the intersection of philosophy, science, and art— a way to see the world prismatically and to unlearn harmful, antiquated social structures. Informed by science fiction as a model for how to shape a more desirable future, Russell’s work largely utilizes in-camera effects, using sculpture, studio lights, and mirrors to allude to magical realism.
See Benjy’s work for sale HERE