Fused Space is pleased to present “Shoegazing,” a solo show of paintings by Oakland artist, Ben Quinn. The term “shoegazing” was coined by the British music press to ridicule a wave of Indie rock groups who stood still, often with their heads down, during live performances as if refusing to acknowledge that they were on stage. The introspective music genre was typified by guitar distortion and feedback, obscure and sometimes mumbled vocals, and the heavy use of effects pedals.
While not a fan of the music, Quinn sees analogies between the genre, on the one hand, and his conceptual stance and visual practice, on the other. Quinn takes his own photographs, drains them of their original color, and then imbues them with a different life – a kind of aura or psychedelic echo – through translucent multi-colored watercolor washes. Whether they depict a hammer with a butter knife or a bunch of chamomile weeds, the images take on a Zen quality where an unexceptional object becomes memorialized as a lasting picture. While the artist discloses that the images are born in stress dreams, the final works keep darkness at bay and evoke relatively serene altered states.