Ben Williamson: Vacationers

Flags (Scotland)If you feel you are seeing ghosts, you just might be. Ben Williamson's upcoming exhibition, Vacationers, chronicles the travels of an unknown elderly couple who may or may not still be among us. Referencing a small selection of enigmatic photographs extracted from a collection of found documents, Williamson highlights the 'ubiquitous snapshot' as an item of nostalgia and anachronism, challenging such notions as photographic veracity, historical accuracy, and the reliability of memory. The re-contextualization of the images – from photographs to oil paintings – reflects the artist's efforts to salvage lost, fragmented narratives and concern for the preservation of meaning. The use of the thin, semi-transparent substrate (discarded, torn, recycled plastic sheets), however, not only leads to the works being read as photographic, but also exposes artifice, construction, manipulation, deterioration, obsolescence, disposal, and loss.  Postcard (Pope)This combination of materials produces ethereal, ghost-like images that allude to the ephemeral nature of photographs in the digital age, as well as to the transitory nature of life itself.

Montréal-based artist Ben Williamson probes the complexities of contemporary life by engaging with social concerns, compounded memory, and imagery culled from the internet age. His paintings respond to the saturated, often strange, world we live in. Receiving his MFA in painting from the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 2010, Willianmson has lived in Cranbrook BC, every part of Vancouver, Edmonton, Philadelphia PA, and Montréal twice.

OutletArnica Gallery is pleased to present Vacationers from March 26 – May 6, 2016. An opening reception will be held Saturday, March 26, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Please contact Arnica’s Gallery Coordinator, Christine Beaton, at for more information.

Arnica Artist-Run Centre gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia and support from the BC Arts Council, and Nature’s Fare.

Check out the publications below:

Vacationers - Ben Williamson