Weekly Update (2) Walter Benjamin Smith at Seraphin


Also in the Weekly this week, my Editor’s Choice preview of Walter Benjamin Smith’s solo exhibition at Seraphin Gallery. Below is the copy with a few pictures. And for more photos see my flickr set.

Walter Benjamin Smith: “The Transcendent Real”

Fri., Nov. 10, 6-8pm. Free. Through Dec. 3. Seraphin Gallery, 1108 Pine St. 215.923.7000.

Walter Benjamin Smith
Walter Benjamin Smith, the Transcendent Real

Walter Benjamin Smith believes in the redemptive power of the mystical experience. The young artist, having his first solo show at the Seraphin Gallery, says he’s experienced mystical realms. And his new paintings, drawings and window installation gallop into the end zone in a celebration of peyote rituals, rainbows, crystals, animals and community. But what happened to the pop culture figures like Yogi Bear that once cavorted in his pictures? “I’ve slowed myself down to tell the story,” the artist says, explaining people were confused by the ambiguity they saw and couldn’t tell if he was celebrating or attacking Yogi and Baby Jesus (who appeared, memorably, in one work as a kind of slug).

Walter Benjamin Smith
Mystery Mystic Mama

The new works have done away with ambiguity. In one after another painted snapshot of a hallucinatory state, the works praise the mystical experience as the way to a better world. It’s the psychedelic Peaceable Kingdom. Smith isn’t a self-taught artist, but his works have the same heated spirituality and urgency to communicate as those of self-taughts—Purvis Young, say—whose works evoke transcendence as a life goal.


seraphin gallery, walter benjamin smith



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