Benjamin Gardner was born in a small town in Northern Illinois and lives and works in Des Moines, Iowa where he is an Assistant Professor of Art and Design and Drake University.
“My work involves the ontological implications of place and time. As experience and identity inform our concept of culture and its usefulness, I work with ideas of self-reliance, commodification, rural traditions, and folklore. These concepts are not a rejection of contemporary society but rather a result of the unsustainable nature of capitalism and consumerism.
In studio practice, I work to use found objects, discarded materials, and plants alongside studio materials like paint and traditional crafts like woodworking. As someone invested in the tradition of painting, I believe that image making is inherently still a tradition of the people, despite its various forms of exploitation. I purposely choose to not use images from folk traditions to better communicate my ideas without the possibility of them being taken ironically. Painting, sculpture, and installation are tautological in my studio practice and simply restate my ideas in different forms.”