Artist of the Moment: Ben Steele


  Curiosity (oil, 50 x 40) by Ben Steele

A striped cat perches on a pedestal and stares longingly at a gilt-framed painting of a goldfish in a bowl. It’s hard not to smile at Ben Steele’s depiction of this unlikely feline visitor to an art museum. One can practically see the cat’s tail twitching as it anxiously awaits the right moment to seize its prey. Curiosity is a good example of Steele’s sly sense of
humor. And while curiosity may kill the cat, as the proverbial saying goes,
curiosity is also a quality that defines Steele as an artist.

      His paintings
often speak to his wide range of interests, revealing an active mind that is
constantly ruminating on art history, pop culture, advertising, and modern
life. Steele’s signature style can incorporate landscapes, figures, interiors,
and animals, totally upending the traditional still-life genre. A self-described
humorist, he brings a fresh, young eye to the time-honored table of the old
masters, who favored painting vases, flowers, and fruit. Steele prefers
crayons, gumball machines, and elephants on stilts. Giacobbe-Fritz Fine Art in Santa
Fe
, NM
, presents a
show of his imaginative paintings in June. Learn more about the Utah-based
artist in the July issue of Southwest Art.  –Bonnie
Gangelhoff

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