Ben Durham

Ben Durham, BFA04

The question of who deserves our attention—and what attentions are valued and facilitated by our culture—is at the center of Ben Durham's ongoing inquiry into memory, portraiture, and crime.

Official "mugshots" of childhood friends and classmates provide the source material for much of his work. Tracing his subject's footsteps while grasping at passing recollections, his tactile and highly obsessive process is an attempt to deconstruct history through personal memory. Unarchiving narrative through the physical act of drawing, Durham makes portraits that are not a simplification or reduction of identity, but instead create expansive and nuanced counter-histories populated by those marked to be forgotten.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1982 and currently residing in Richmond, Virginia, Durham has exhibited his work internationally, including solo shows at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in New York, Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles, Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago, and the Reynolds Gallery in Richmond. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, 21c Museum in Louisville, and Maison Particuliere in Brussels, Belgium, among others.

Durham's work can be found in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Flag Art Foundation, both in New York; as well as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the 21c Museum; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and numerous private collections throughout the United States and Europe.