The Fridge is proud to launch our fall season with all new work by DC-based artist Ben Tolman. This show will consist of ink drawings revealing the whole range of Tolman's art making process from doodles on napkins to obsessively crafted works. In the words of the artist, "These drawings are the detritus of my personal experience within this absurdly complex machine of existence." The opening will feature a special performance from Bellflur.
The exhibition will be on view through October 9.
Perhaps you’ll let me be informal for just a moment. I like clean edges
and nice frames just as much as anyone, but there is a certain amount of
individuality or authenticity that is lost when formal structures are followed.
Most of the work I have exhibited to date has been obsessively detailed large
format drawings but much of my creative output happens elsewhere. This is the
space of constant doodling and experimentation where I continue drawing for
the same reason I did as a child, the free exploration of my imagination. This
exhibition is meant to open a window to that process.
Through art, whatever the form, I create a space for myself to slow down and
reflect on this grand, unlikely experience I am embedded within. When you
strip away the details, this is all an attempt to get at what this experience of
existing right now is, what it means, what it feels like. Not as a philosophical
discussion, but the lived experience within culture, operating between the
mundane patterns of everyday life and the extraordinary peculiarity of life
I was raised in a conservative Mormon family. The meaning of life came
in a neat packaged box but fell apart with the slightest bit of scrutiny. Long
ago as a child, I abandoned any existing cultural mythology as an explanation
for life and have been exploring this mystery, and creating my own mythology
through art, ever since. Without any prepackaged creation stories, I have the
freedom to just reflect on the mystery, beauty and horror of it all without any
prejudice. The more I learn, the stranger everything becomes. But this grandeur
of possible thoughts and experiences has to still be tempered with the same
mundane tasks and struggles of the daily slog through life that has always
been with mankind. These drawings are the detritus of my personal experience
within this absurdly complex machine of existence.
~ Ben Tolman