"Modern Myth and Mythology" The Series

   Unique Encaustic Mixed Media, The Art Of ©Ben Fink.                    

"Modern Myth and Mythology"

In the work, "Modern Mythologies" the potential manifestations for holiness. I transform everyday people into characters of romantic and fantastical works of modern mythology, collaborating with models from virtually all walks of life–from doctors to sex workers, actors, and other artists. Through extensive post-production, I place them into settings of epic proportion. Most of my subjects are seen through an objectifying gaze, others as archetypes, some being hyper-masculine, others being characters in novels or plays, allowing them to be vulnerable and show emotions. I also like to explore gender and body types and on occasion the idea of alien and cross-species integration into the human form. Working with subjects of the LGBTQ community who are often co-collaborators in the conception of these personas that appear in the final work. This allows for the inclusion and revisioning of spiritual and mythological storytelling.

To form the backgrounds, I combine fragments of paintings with photographs of the models I work with. This blending of elements creates an otherworldly effect and makes the models often appear godlike. Each image has an indeterminate narrative quality, which allows viewers to emotionally connect to the work and give it its final shape.

The work exists between painting and photography, influenced equally by artists in both disciplines. Renaissance painters such as Jan van Eyck, Michelangelo, and Titian inspire the compositions and narrative. The final results are reminiscent of Baroque painters such as Schönfeld-Opferszene, Caravaggio, and Tiepolo. Not limited to this time period or genre, I weave in the romanticism of photographers like Steichen and Margaret Cameron as well as the hyper-sexual intent of Mapplethorpe. I find inspiration for much of my work in literature and folklore.

The works, as objects, also straddle these mediums. Some key compositions are re-rendered in oil on canvas, whereas others are encaustic photographs, meaning that the surface is treated with wax and pigment. Both of these processes heighten the depth of the images by building up the surface.