I make pictures of a lot of different things. Sometimes I paint seascapes, sometimes landscapes or street scenes. Occasionally, I set figures in interiors or other architectural spaces. Some of these pictures are taken from things I saw directly; others are conjured from memory, or from an accumulated compendium of internalized views.
But whether literally representational or imagined, I mean for all of my pictures to invite the viewer in with a sense of the familiar, while yet distilling some essential character of the subject that may feel surprising or even a bit odd. I find that I can achieve this in part by stripping out extraneous detail in order to get to the reduced, or even abstract heart of a picture.
Beyond any formal concerns or issues of content, what interests me most of all is paint itself — how it lies, stands or races across the surface of the canvas. I've said to a couple of friends recently that "I want to make de Koonings and hide them inside of Homers". Not that I mean to imitate either of those artists, I just like to conceal the physically powerful wolf of abstraction within the sheep's clothing of a more seemingly conventional realism. You feel that you know it, or have seen it before a thousand times. But then you spend some time with it and realize that you don't know it at all.
A kind of deliberate brusqueness is the crucial agent of my mark-making, which is intentionally raw and roughly drawn. I have lost any interest in carefully rendering the minutia of fine detail, if indeed I ever had it to begin with. Large descriptive shapes, made with a loaded brush and moved by the whole arm, are what I'm after. The sense of atmosphere and emotion that those big gestures can convey is what I live for.
— Christopher Benson