Ben Tolman, an artist based in Washington, D.C., crafts intricate urban scenes that are absorbing at every inch. His new show, titled “Weltschmerz: Recent Drawings by Ben Tolman,” brings a new series of works to Gallery Neptune and Brown in DC. The word means “world pain” in German, and like his ink and gouache images prior, his work reflects both precision and insanity. Or as the gallery says, “in the tradition of Hieronymus Bosch and M.C. Escher, Tolman delves in to the fantastic imagery of impossible chaos.” Tolman was last featured on HiFructose.com here. The show runs through Feb. 25.
This new collection of works invites occasional abstractions and otherworldly textures into these concrete backdrops. Pops of color add flair to images like “Path,” “Queue,” and “Entrance.” And as clean as the linework can be, Tolman contains to make his city lived-in with deterioration and graffiti.
On the graffiti details of his work, Tolman recently told this to the Creators Project: “I usually won’t invent the graffiti in my drawings, and instead pull it directly from photos I have taken,” he said. “It has been a cool experience to have a graffiti writer contact me after having found their tag in my drawing.”