Overview

Ben McLaughlin’s paintings are, at first glance, unassuming and conventional – representations of places, some populated, some not. Some show figures in elusive surroundings, or an occasional still life. But although appearing familiar, the places are non-specific and artificial. It’s unclear what the inhabitants are actually engaged in, if anything. These disconnected individuals are often on the edge of something, be it geographical or temporal: caught in some kind of Limbo. McLaughlin’s imaginary worlds are pictorial compounds – potentially humorous or unsettling tangles of the once real and the imperfectly remembered, framed through their titles by the date of their manifestation and a corresponding context from that day’s news.

 

McLaughlin’s recent work revolves around a nocturnal theme. Many of the paintings are very small in scale. Their titles reflect the time – somewhere between midnight and daybreak – and the name of a late-night TV rerun or movie. The images feel like voyeuristic views of intimate moments. Painted in a style that evokes a bygone era, their ambiguous scenarios in half-light and muted tones summon fleeting memories, existential musings, and the peculiar states of mind conjured in the dark of night.

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