Melody for a Walk
Benjamin Styer’s paintings
glimpse mystical worlds
by Kate Mothes
Medieval manuscripts meet Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights and a dash of Narnia in Benjamin Styer’s fantastical paintings. A self-taught artist based in Massachusetts, he draws on dreams and visions, fragments of memory, and improvisation to create layered compositions that emphasize rich color contrasts and gradients, often centered around surrealist, dreamlike landscapes that open up through geometric portals.
Evoking the literary tension of fairytales, Styer’s scenes veil an underlying sinisterness with a layer of sweetness. His works often play with notions of flatness and depth, combining two-dimensional graphics with three-dimensional elements. Some compositions suggest the pages of weighty, esoteric volumes or detailed scenes from historic tapestries, while others alternate between architectural space and pure pattern. Sometimes placed within—or beyond—features like bookshelves, the landscapes are dense, otherworldly, and nearly symmetrical, hinting at mysterious goings-on within that are simultaneously inviting and impenetrable.
All images © Benjamin Styer, courtesy of the artist and Moskowitz Bayse, Los Angeles