Ben Halpern

My work explores themes of individuality of the human face and spatial awareness of the eye-level viewer. As a practicing painter and aspiring architect, I find a tension between the human and architectural scales -- each portrait is formally based on the subject’s face yet monumentalized through expression, cropping, and surface treatment. I use thick, sculptural layers of paint that directly convey the process of creation. The spontaneous strokes, colors, and textures uniquely mark each of the portraits and show a true love for the medium of oil paint. I treasure the slowness of painting. If photograph freezes one insant in time, then painting that photograph draws out that instant for days, weeks, or months. I learn so much about my subjects from studying a single brief snapshot, which shines through in the final composition.

I hold degrees in engineering and art from Stanford University and currently work as a designer at SOFTlab, a multidisciplinary design firm in New York City.

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