Ben Howe’s haunting images of broken, sliced and shredded faces may resemble digitally altered photographs, yet they are actually oil paintings rendered on canvas and board. Part of his ongoing series titled Surface Variations, the paintings are not only visually startling, but also deeply reflective on the nature of human consciousness — challenging our perception of the human form and exploring concepts of fractured memory and identity. The latest additions to the series are currently featured in Transmogrify, a group exhibition at the beinArt Gallery, until July 19.
Howe is an Australian visual artist who specializes in hyperrealism and conceptual art. His artistic process includes constructing his subjects initially as clay sculptures, then altering them by cutting or smashing them into fragmented pieces. These distorted forms are often combined with photographic elements and used as the basis for the final images that emerge from his canvas.
The artist elaborated on the thought process behind Surface Variations on his Facebook page: “I was interested in creating pieces that would raise questions about the physical, psychological, and metaphysical space we inhabit, the construction of personal histories and what it is to ‘be’. I approached this problem by considering the consequences of corrupting something familiar… and the mental faculties which are engaged when the viewer attempts to reconcile the sum of disparate elements with the initial subject.”
View more from his Surface Variations series (as well as other works) on his website.