Karl Benjamin uncovered and discovered at Geoform


Karl Benjamin
Karl Benjamin.  #5, 1994, oil on canvas, 122 x 122 cm (48 x 48 in)courtesy of the
artist and Louis Stern Fine Arts

Earlier this month artist and curator Julie Karabenick wrote to tell us about a massive new artist’s interview with Claremont, CA artist Karl Benjamim at her website Geoform. Karabenick, who organized the show Ordered in 2006 at the now-closed Siano Gallery, interviewed Benjamin, an eminence grise in the field of geometric abstraction, and the result is a 4-page spread loaded with Benjamin’s bright-colored works and insights into the artist’s compositions and working methods. 

Some of Benjamin’s works remind me of Odili Donald Odita’s paintings and when I looked through the interview I saw many vibrant works that made me smile.  They’re bold and beautiful and call to mind many things in the real world.  

karl benjamin.jpg
Karl Benjamin.  #6, 1990, oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm (48 x 60 in) 
courtesy of the
artist and Louis Stern Fine Arts

Benjamin (b. 1925) is not as well known as he should be and the work truly is gorgeous and juicy in a kind of heady cerebral way. 

Benjamin’s star may be rising and this would be a very good thing. Karabenick mentioned that the New York TImes did a comprehensive piece on the artist last year (which includes a nice slide show of his works).

Karl Benjamin
Karl Benjamin in front of I.F. Big Magenta with Green (oil on canvas, 102 x 127 cm/40 x 50 in, 1959) courtesy of the
artist and Louis Stern Fine Arts

“I don’t very often use the word “genius,” but Karl certainly is one,” said Karabenick in an email.  “The quality and breadth of work he began to produce just a few short years after teaching himself to paint (while teaching elementary school fulltime!) is simply remarkable.” 

I love Karabenick’s art activism on Geoform. If you don’t know the site you should take a look. It’s rich with many artist interviews and loads of images. Karabenick’s one-woman crusade to educate about artists who make this type of work is generous and a great public service.


geoform, julie karabenick, karl benjamin


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