“The Burbs” by Robert Lukins

Benjamin Werner By Robert Lukins

Interview – Timeoff Magazine July 2005

Why did you choose to represent the streets of Brisbane within your latest exhibition?
Initially the concept of the exhibition “Suburbanality” came from three words; suburban, urban and banality, an idea that’s been floating around in my subconscious for a while. Looking at the banal or everyday through my eyes, the streets of Brisbane were the perfect place to start. To me the streets are the veins of the city with the life flowing through them.

Are your works generated from a particularly theoretical artistic framework?
Based on a few personal ideals in regards to the image, surface and the actual application of paint my works touch on the notions of the sublime and beautiful, a theory that’s been written about and argued over for hundreds of years. The idea of whether it is relevant in contemporary art practice is a topic I’ve been privileged enough to have discussions on many occasions.

Are your works within Suburbanality thematically linked? What ties the pieces together?
As mentioned in the first question, all works in this show deal with a street, road or drive somewhere within the greater Brisbane region. Most are of vistas or structures that I pass everyday as I make my way around our city . There is also an obvious a connection with the way in which the images are rendered with smooth glossy surfaces and the play on focus and cropping techniques.

What are you hoping your works’ viewers will gain from your exhibition?
The main thing I hope for any exhibition is for as many people from varied backgrounds to come and see the works, especially visitors who don’t get the opportunity to get out and see artworks or don’t really know how to take that first step inside a gallery. I hope through seeing the works and encouraging dialogue viewers can take away from the exhibition a way of seeing or approaching their everyday just a little bit differently.

What did you achieve through their creation?
Every work I create I learn something new, a new way to approach my practice as well as in my everyday life.

It gives me a new understanding of myself and my relationships with the people and this place we all inhabit.

Do your works represent your personal relationship with Brisbane? Do you consider your works to be particularly linked to your city?
It is something I think I will always attempt to achieve through my practice, that sense of connection to where I am at the time and the time I am in. Though sometimes with the rush of getting a show together and everything that comes along with that some of the ideals are pushed aside in favour of resolution/completion.

Where do you envisage your work heading in the future?
As I travel further in Australia and abroad my work will understandably develop in different and unexpected ways, something that I believe I don’t really have control over. To keep producing new artworks that build on my previous body of work is my one real goal at this point. And to never stop learning………

You can view all works as well as a gallery location map for the new show online at www.benjaminwerner.com.
Robert Lukins