Emerson Dorsch Gallery is pleased to announce our representation of M. Benjamin Herndon.
His first solo exhibition for the gallery, andforththroughthemistamountainameadow, will be on view from April 30th through June 3rd, 2023. We will present a selection of recent paintings whose dark gradients are wrought in many layers of emulsified graphite.
M. Benjamin Herndon enjoys the state of searching brought about by a string of words without spaces. Deciphering a stream of letters demands focus and time. The difficulty in reading the words might be a good way to concentrate on the ideas that the words are trying to impart.
“There’s an analog,” with his paintings, Herndon observed, “where darkness and light arise mutually from a single material and are thus inherently inseparable.” He connects this state of searching with the Japanese concept of yugen, “that particular type of mysterious beauty found in opacity and the not-quite-grasping.”
As an example, Herndon wrote earlier this year in reference to the painting shown above.
“Around this time, eight years ago, I had the immense pleasure of beholding the real Mt. Fuji in Japan. I could not see the mountain, not at all, as it was clouded in a dense dawn mist, but I knew exactly where it was. Its presence was only in my mind, as real as could be. Today, on my way to California to visit family, I flew over my childhood home, Meadow Valley, in the Sierra Nevada mountains. While below a dense mist of clouds, I knew exactly where that snowy meadow was.”
Herndon’s dark paintings seem Minimalist, but he is careful to articulate how they are in fact the opposite. The bright forms that radiate from darkness in his compositions are the same color and material as their surrounding deep shadow. He makes all his paint from scratch, essentially an emulsion of oil and alkyd pigmented with graphite. That is to say, both the dark and bright fields are made from a proprietary graphite mixture. The bright areas have been finished differently, such that the texture, and the angles of ambient light reflecting off of it, helps us to see light in the dark.
He writes that the “graphite surface has a certain familiarity but it also carries an enigmatic quality, which I count as a good thing. The paintings, while dimensionally flat, are inherently sculptural: movement of the viewer’s body and seeing the work in space is essential. To experience the work is a uniquely physical matter.”
On his extraordinarily laborious process, he continues: “For me the process is simultaneously not at all important and all-important: the process serves as a means to achieve a surface that interests me.” In other words, the process is the ground whose material is no different than the forms it seems to surround. There is no form possible without the surroundings’ material, and neither are possible without the process.
Beverly Acha (b. 1987) is a first-generation Latina born in Miami, Florida. Acha makes paintings, drawings, and prints. Rooted in observation, her work captures the intangible sensorial and psychological experience of space through color and repetition. Often working in series, Acha’s paintings build a distinct visual language and logic in response to the environment in which they are made. Referencing architecture, diagrams, and landscape, her core concern is the perceptual slippage within these systems, the spaces between knowing and seeing, experience and memory, and the real and the imagined.
Acha’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including at venues such as DC Moore Gallery, El Museo del Barrio, Albuquerque Museum, Underdonk, LatchKey Gallery, Rubber Factory, 1969 Gallery, and Smack Mellon. Her work is included in public collections including the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio and Soho House in Austin and Miami.
Acha has participated in artist residencies including the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, MacDowell, Fountainhead, Lighthouse Works, Wassaic Project and the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program. She is a recipient of awards including the Aon-CUE Artist Empowerment Award and the Robert Schoelkopf Memorial Travel Grant to Brazil. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Diacritics, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.
Acha attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2018) and holds a BA from Williams College (2009) and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University School of Art (2012). She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and is a Critic in Painting and Printmaking at the Yale University School of Art.
Emerson Dorsch is a contemporary art gallery with two complementary roles: to represent a core group of select South Florida-based artists, to host and represent excellent emerging and mid-career visiting artists. The gallery’s name reflects the partnership in art and life between the husband and wife team Brook Dorsch and Tyler Emerson-Dorsch. We believe in the joys of an artful life, of experiencing art close to the source. Through all the gallery’s activities, we foster art patronage and artistic community.
Brook Dorsch founded Dorsch Gallery in the early 1990s to exhibit Miami-based artists. Tyler Emerson-Dorsch joined the gallery in 2008 after earning a Masters from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. After almost 25 years, the gallery moved a second time to Little Haiti, a neighborhood northwest of downtown Miami.