Ben Lee

Contextual Independence is a two person show featuring the works of Ben Lee & Shannon Lightfoot.

Opening Reception April 7 7-9pm

Exhibition Run April 7-21 

Exhibition Statement 

Contextual Independence The art of Ben Lee and Shannon Lightfoot

In this present, 100 years after Duchamp’s toilet, it would seem likely that the best art is found outside the context of the gallery.Or rather, that art needs to be good, independent of context, so that when art has been brought into the gallery the goodness can shine.It is a matter of the heart and the spirit. This is accomplished in private; through will and determination, discipline and rigour, whimsey, inspiration, and the desire to see how a notion might resolve. Both Ben Lee and Shannon Lightfoot create work which can be viewed with pleasure outside of the conventions of gallery space and when brought together within the context of this exhibition, the goodness shines very bright indeed. 


Broccoli Makes You Strong - The Art of Ben Lee


Among the finest creations which have grown in Ben Lee’s Garden is the Bronze Broccoli Barbell. By appropriating forms from nature and assembling these, Ben has successfully made interactive art which may be enjoyed independent of convention. It is clear that Ben Lee recognizes the fractal beauty found in nature. Mathematics and cosmology exist outside of polity. 

It does not matter how one votes upon the issue; the earth revolves around the sun, one plus one equals two, and the spiral found in natural forms leads the mind to infinity. This brand of infinity is among that which we call beauty. With respect to the Barbell, Ben has appropriated these forms by way of lost broccoli casting. This process can be de-mystified by way of explanation. First, the living broccoli is selected and invested in plaster. After which the broccoli is burned out, leaving a broccoli shaped cavity. Next, molten metal is the poured into the broccoli shaped cavity, when the metal cools and becomes solid, the plaster is broken away leaving a reproduction of the living broccoli in bronze. Through assemblage, it is that Ben joins two broccoli crowns into a single creation, the bronze barbell. The blue patina takes the broccoli into the world of fantastic realism; an imaginary place where blue broccoli barbells grow, build our muscles, and allow us to meditate on the essential. Vegetables are by definition apolitical,Broccoli makes you strong !





Shannon Lightfoot- the positive violation of personal space.


The T-shirt has been the place for statements of all sorts since the last third of the twentieth century. A staple of fashion, the t-shirt has been a human scale billboard for messages of all sorts: personal and political, humorous and tragic, sacred and profane, trite and profound. As a mercantile product, t-shirts have enjoyed pride of place on the merck tables every significant cultural event for the last sixty years. Since the fall of the french monarchy fashion as a cultural experience has been dictated by the street. Fashion is not handed down from the aristocracy it is dictated by popular consent and as such exists mostly outside the conventions of contemporary art. Perhaps the appeal of a t-shirt statement is that it is not dictated by authority, it is an artistic statement which comes from the people. Among those who’ve used the T-shirt as a place of artistic expression Shannon Lightfoot is an undisputed master. Shannon’s t-shirts are hand-made creations which delight and mystify the world they inhabit. Shannon’s process is relentless and this body of work was created daily, one t-shirt at a time. It is only through this kind meditative discipline that an artist’s work can reach a place of spiritual profundity, transcending time and the limitations of the material world. Shannon’s t-shirt designs poke into three dimensional space, radiate positivity, and alter the perceptions of all who see. Shannon’s T-shirts mostly have one word on them, and work as a beacon of mindfulness. Like an affirmation one reads the raised letters, and is transported to a place of contemplation, questioning the meaning of the word, considering its relationship to one’s self and the world.


It is through unconventional goodness that these two artists create, it is a privilege to witness their good work in a public 

experience. Consider yourself lucky !


Exhibition Statement by Robert Chaplin 

Curated By Robert Turriff