Paul Stephen Benjamin explores the color black

Paul Stephen Benjamin explores long established cultural narratives in his new Gallery 72 exhibition.

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In this day and age, when viewers question whether or not Beyoncé should be discussing race in her music, artist Paul Stephen Benjamin’s work brings a breath of fresh air into the race conversation. Originally from Chicago, Benjamin’s work examines the color black beyond race and often relies on the viewer’s perspective to bring meaning to his work. 

His installation titled ABCKL, at the Atlanta Contemporary’s Coloring show in 2014, was composed of several old television screens that spelled out black power twice with photos of African American athletic and cultural icons. The piece explored black identity and how it is defined by those icons.

Now, the Atlanta-based artist heads to Gallery 72, thanks to the Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs for his exhibition, Come Over. Here, he will examine the use of language and visual ephemera to explore long established cultural narratives. 

“I’ve been excited about curating an exhibition of Paul’s work since his arrival in Atlanta and my tenure here at Gallery 72 has giving me the opportunity to finally do so,” Kevin Sipp says, project coordinator for the gallery and curator of the show. “His work evokes equal parts skill, meditation, and conceptual playfulness. Paul’s exhibition Come Over investigates and interrogates the assumptions that comes with attaching too much mythic meaning to color and culture. Giving no overt meaning to his pieces, Paul wants and expects the viewer to create their own narratives and dialogues devoid of aesthetic or cultural dogma.”

So stop by Benjamin’s exhibition, question what you think about the color black and create your own narratives. These days, we sure need it.

You can also spot another one of Benjamin’s installations, Black Is the Color, right now at the High Museum of Art.

Check out Paul Stephen Benjamin’s new exhibition Come Over at the opening 6 p.m. on Thurs., March 3, at Gallery 72. It’s free and open to the public. The show runs through April 7.