is a visual artist and writer. His work has been exhibited in Australia and internationally. He works as a casual lecturer in drawing at the National Art School, Sydney.
Ben grew up in the Blue Mountains and studied visual arts at Western Sydney University. He works with performance video and makes machines that engage different parts of the body in the process drawing and writing. In 2002–03 he spent a year and a half in Mexico with the assistance of the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship. He maintains strong connections to Mexican art and activist culture. His doctoral thesis considered the relationship between art and neuroscience, with a particular focus on gesture and linguistic embodiment.
I would argue that Within without is the most significant and praiseworthy international art purchase the NGA has made to date. It is exactly the sort of contemporary art the NGA should be collecting: work that smaller institutions with less space and resources could not commission; work that alters our perception; work that can foster a genuine sense of collective ownership; work that challenges viewers to move beyond their habitual ways of looking at art.
One of the explanations for minimalism’s success in challenging formalism in the 1960s is that it wasn’t really a challenge at all. Minimalism may well have functioned as a clean critique of abstract expressionism’s perceived excesses, but it wasn’t a great rupture with formalism.