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Larger than life
Art is a jump and a joust for young painter
by Maytal Mark
Top: One of Ben Alexy’s paintings now on exhibit at Stanford Art Spaces is “The Development Of Trust: An Isolated Example Of A Promise Kept,” a 2006 acrylic on paper. Above left: Alexy’s 2011 oil painting “Heaven: The Myth And Manifestation Of Absolute Happiness.” Above right: a study for “Heaven” a 2011 acrylic on paper.
t’s no wonder that painting feels like a sport for Ben Alexy. The young Palo Alto artist’s mastery of massive 10-foot canvases can demand some serious physical activity. “The larger it is, the more it feels like I’m engaging in something that’s really physical, like moving around and flipping the panels,” Alexy says in a recent interview in his paint-spattered San Jose studio. “I like being up and moving and working, sweating.” This larger-than-life scale supports the message behind his art. “You can create this world that you can fall into, that wraps around you like an atmosphere,” he says. “A lot of my paintings are about finding particularities about the way we are as human beings and trying to present that on a grand, monumental scale. That’s how I feel about human beings in general; just being alive can be a very heroic thing.” This spirit is evident in his paintings, like “The Joy of Life,” which depicts a man in modern clothing passionately wielding a sword against a medieval jouster. The drama of the action is upstaged only by the towering 9-foot frame of the painting.
Section 1 of the August 17, 2012 edition of the Palo Alto Weekly