The Mary David Holt Gallery at Salem Academy and College’s Elberson Fine Arts Center is alive with a unique collection of larger-than-life portraits in charcoal. The solo exhibit by Brooklyn-born artist Ben Perini literally fills the walls with fictional representations of a variety of subjects, each as intriguing as the next.
The exhibit is titled, “Random Thoughts and the Fictional Portrait.” Though there is nothing random about the precision of Perini’s work, which celebrates the simplicity of black charcoal and the beauty of charcoal markings as they are layered, blended, rubbed, brushed, erased and further manipulated by the imagination to portray expressions and thoughts.
Scale is an important factor in Perini’s work, with some drawings in this show measuring up to seven feet tall. The intent is for the viewer to be absorbed and engulfed by the whole work of art, as he or she decides if the layers of imagery are part of a story or just abstract musings.
An artist all of his life, Perini grew up among the great museums of New York City, which he visited often from an early age. His first educational art experience was at age eight, attending the Saturday art classes at the Brooklyn Museum. Inspired onward, he never looked back.
A self-proclaimed “professional dreamer” Perini’s artistic vision and versatility also has influenced commercial (traditional and digital) art over the past 25 years and awarded him numerous commissions among clients, including Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, Wall Street Journal, and Smithsonian Magazine, among many more.
Ben Perini’s exhibit will run through March 21 and is open to the public, free of charge. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday; 1:00 – 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Published on March 10, 2014