moca museum

October 31, 2015
Blog 24


Philippe Benichou

I was led to becoming an artist through a spiritual quest that began when I was a child and crystallized in the mid to late 1990's. I never consciously intended to paint. I have always been intensely fascinated by the innermost workings of the universe, both physical and spiritual. I find keen similarities between the vastness of the expanding cosmos, freedom of mind and being. After all, we are travelers in space.

Strange as it seems, I feel like my spirit is in a constant state of creative meditation, free to roam through many other planes and dimensions. My paintings are proofs and accounts of my travels and spiritual reflections. I paint from inner visions and intense emotions, impossible to organize in words, which I let go of instead on canvas. I seem to follow an inner guide and a wisdom resembling an internal muse. It supplies me with tremendous joy and a wonderful feeling of long forgotten peace.

My work is an extension and a clarification of my strongest, clearest and most intimate creative reflections. I am convinced that what I manifest in physical form as an artist is but a dim reflection of what my spirit is capable of creating. With a clear risk of sounding naively utopian, I believe we are here to manifest the magnificence of life and help one another discover and actualize our intrinsic and individual freedom. I trust that we all play a specific role in the great scheme and mystery of life. I see myself as a mystic and understand art as the channeling of the creative realm I no longer wish to resist. I see the physical realm as a communication platform for higher consciousness.

I am deeply grateful to artists who have exposed their thoughts on life as it relates to art; writing is an integral aspect of my journey as an artist. I believe the artist has the divine duty to keep one foot in the mysteries of creation, thus preventing man to be completed engulfed in the illusion of civilization. My late mother, Arlette Oger, was an artist with strength and foresight. She exposed her process to me and will always remain an inspiring example.

My work is for the most part expressive: contemporary abstract and abstract expressionist with an intense and free use of color. As an abstract artist I externalize on canvas what I am experiencing within but cannot express in words or symbolically. The forms, shapes, lines and colors that come out are no longer recognizable objects from my projected self-images, that is what I think I know about myself and the world around me. Life, from this viewpoint becomes a continual dance of appearing and disappearing forms creating inner connections that appeal to the senses not to the mind.

Abstract art is my awakening from self-image and mind-based reality. When I no longer recognize something in a work of art I begin to know myself as pure experience. I become transparent to the ideas of myself. Who I think I am. I reach beyond mind into pure abstract feelings. You could call such abstraction intuitive awareness, surrender, path of least resistance, spirit or freedom.

My art aims at the liberation from self-image based living toward a more integrated living where I recognize the totality of who I am and begin to experience it as a self-aware and no longer self-conscious individual.

Without color I am lost. I see things as they are through the energy field of awareness produced by correct abstract forms through color. Only the absence of this understanding or intuitive feeling brings momentary pain and suffering. Color and specifically color compositions are healing because they are orgasmic at the level of the self; they effortlessly propel me toward my true nature. Abstract art as well as abstract feelings help me get in touch with vastness and universal belonging to life as a whole.

Abstraction is in a very real sense the actual context of our existence, as society and language itself are abstract in nature. From this viewpoint, the true purpose of art can be seen as the empowerment of the individual, and consequently, the elevation of the consciousness of the collective. All my paintings aim at intuitive awakening, which is the blissful certitude of our existence in various forms and modalities.

I use various media to produce unusual textures, shapes, compositions and color coordination. I believe color has a primitive healing effect provided it contains and aims at harmony. I am interested in surprising dynamics, rhythms and relationships. I create series spontaneously based on techniques and ideas I have been subconsciously developing and refining over the years. Ideas seem to occur naturally as part of the process. I do not paint from thought projections or left-brain imagery, as I prefer to leave my conscious self as removed from the process as possible. Color and line engender shapes that eventually lead me to a harmony of composition, which I reckon is the ultimate plastic purpose.

I do not typically lean toward representational work as I view the world as a dance of mirage-like manifestations and appearances caught in a dualistic dance. Self-based versus mind-based art is where my truth lies. When I no longer see an object that I recognize in a work of art I am expressing more than I am representing.

My spirit has ways of seeing that my eyes cannot comprehend. I find soothing peace when I escape the world of accepted forms and favor expressing myself freely and openly. Creative imagination and spiritual reflection through the act of painting is the closest I get to formlessness without limits. To work with the un-interpreted, and yet engender clarity, freedom and consequently a slow but present sense of evolution through intuitive awareness. Painting to me IS thinking in action, profound and on all levels but it is also an honoring and celebration of existence in all its forms and colors.

Living in a political, delicate and sensitive world, I must participate in the process of completely consuming the atmospheres around me in order to process them artistically. My paintings are like books and maps. I write so much in them. I journey like a guided vessel through rich internal experiences removed from the psychological babbling of the "real" homogenized world. It is essential to share where I stand regarding the place of the artist in society. I intuitively see that we have arrived at the confident age of the individual. Each individual is meant to emerge in all his or her attractiveness and personal destiny based on individual choice not on societal conditioning from the past. I see a silent revolution and an immutable evolution in progress. It is a process and has always been met with a great deal of resistance by our ancestral conditioning.

Artists, to me are farmers of love and beauty, which are contained within life itself, and artists are not limited to works of art in the traditional sense as means of expression. Love and beauty are also cultivated through presence, intuition and awareness, which are just as valid as any plastic expression.

It took several decades to find the strength and courage to begin expressing myself fully in this medium. I first began doing pastel and tempera works and then began experimenting with digital art, which was extraordinarily revealing to me. Later, I began using oil, watercolor, inks and various other media. I call my body of work Quantum Creations. Much of my progress happened as a result of working with well-known art educator and artist Francis Coelho in Mill Valley, California. The work I expressed as an actor and theatre director has influenced me greatly, so did the atmospheres surrounding my childhood experiences.

Here are nine artworks by Philippe Benichou from the MOCA archives:

Benichou 01

Benichou 02

Benichou 03

Benichou 04

Benichou 05

Benichou 06

Benichou 07

Benichou 08

Benichou 09


by Jim Fitch
Acquisition Agent
The Florida Masters Collection

I was encouraged by the excerpts from the New York Times that were published in the DABlog #1. Some responders to that article were concerned that it was all about the technology not the technicians or their art. At this stage of the digital art game we need to take whatever we can get from whatever media. I remember a quip from a guy who was the subject of a negative article in the newspaper. When he was asked how he felt about that he said, "Did they spell my name right?"

DA's (Digital Artists} need to take advantage of any and all the publicity they can get. After reading the NYT article and learning about all the marvelous technological ways the public can interact with art. I wanted to visit those museums. Trouble is, they are in New York.

I'm convinced that when the public visits a museum they are preconditioned to accept whatever they encounter in that environment as art, or in this case, something associated with art. Ms. Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MOMA, got it right when she said the present state of digital art is like a pot of minestrone meaning that it consists of a lot of different ingredients working together to make an identifiable end product, minestrone.

I see digital art facing obstacles that stand in the way of it gaining a place at the table of art. Bruce Thacker writing in Blog#1, DIGITAL ART AS I SEE IT, scores some points for our side. He notes that there's simply too much of it out there. It's a wild west show. I don't know how to deal with that except by educating the public and letting nature take its course. He goes on to suggest that DA's study art history in order to learn how social movements influenced art movements. There's another benefit to knowing about what has gone before and that is how personal characteristics of individual artists played a role in determining who got the laurel wreath. History is both a teacher and a crystal ball.

I recently discovered an article in the February,1967 issue of ART NEWS by Amy Goldin titled "Art In a Hairshirt." It is also included in a book with the same title that contains more of her criticisms. I was amazed that what was true nearly fifty years ago is true today. I recommend it to DA's. It's not an easy read. I kept the article in one hand and a dictionary in the other.

With these few comments I hope to become a regular DA blogger with insight gained from forty years in the business of art.

Jim Fitch's blog Living Dogs and Dead Lions


Let's hear it for the DABlog


Digital Art Gallery Online
Digital gallery of best pictures and photos from portfolios of digital artists.

Digital Art Served
Top work in categories such as computer graphics, matte painting, digital painting and photo manipulation.

Soho Arthouse (Soho Gallery For Digital Art)
Event space, gallery, tech, film screening room, product launches, pop-up, fashion week, charity art shows in NYC.

DAM - Digital Art Museum
Museum and gallery

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art is a contemporary gallery in downtown LA dedicated to the propagation of all forms of digital art, new media, digital video.

Community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose. Art prints.

Almost entirely 3D rendered art from such programs as 3DS Max, Maya, Lightwave and others.

Museum of Computer Art
Nonprofit US educational corporation chartered by the NYS Department of Education.

Digital Art Online
Online digital art exhibition space. Includes thematic exhibitions.

Museum of Digital Fine Arts
Spotlighting the most brilliant new artists of the modern age.

Digital Arts: California
Showcase of digital art both physical (in gallery) and virtual (online).


This continues a series of DABlog quotations.

You begin with the possibilities of the material.
Robert Rauschenberg

A painting that is well composed is half finished.
Pierre Bonnard

Art hurts. Art urges voyages - and it is easier to stay at home.
Gwendolyn Brooks

All good art is an indiscretion.
Tennessee Williams

An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have.
Andy Warhol

The history of modern art is also the history of the progressive loss of art's audience. Art has increasingly become the concern of the artist and the bafflement of the public.
Paul Gauguin

Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers - and never succeeding.
Gian Carlo Menotti

Art for art's sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.
Frank Lloyd Wright

The very essence of the creative is its novelty, and hence we have no standard by which to judge it.
Carl Rogers

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.
Emile Zola

To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist.
Robert Schumann

All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography.
Federico Fellini

Art is Art. Everything else is everything else.
Ad Reinhardt

The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.
Joan Miro

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
Oscar Wilde

You don't take a photograph, you make it.
Ansel Adams

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.
Pablo Picasso

A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires.
Hedy Lamarr

Life is short, the art long.

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Thomas Merton

It is not in life, but in art that self-fulfillment is to be found.
Wilson Mizner

The goal of art was the vital expression of self.
Alfred Stieglitz

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
Twyla Tharp

A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual.
Vladimir Nabokov

Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.
Stephen Sondheim


Oksana Linde

Oksana Linde lives in Venezuela.

She was born in 1948 in Caracas. Her parents arrived in Venezuela after leaving Ukraine. She studied art with her mother Halyna Linde-Krychevska and brother Vasyl Linde Krychevsky. She holds a degree in Chemistry.

The following five images were submitted to the DABlog by Oksana:

Foramnifera III

African Girl

Girl 03

Sphere 03

Voyage through a Dream 08


Guy Ciarcia

Born in 1942 in Union City, New Jersey, Guy Ciarcia is a classically trained artist, who was educated at the Pratt Institute, New York University, and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. His massive body of work spans over fifty years and runs the gamut from painting, murals, photography, film, and digital drawings to sculpture, ceramics, crafts and jewelry.

"My journey has taken me out of the realm of the conventional materials I used for such a long time and into the digital world. All of the drawings in this show were made with the Photoshop program. The images are largely derived from experimenting with the program," states Ciarcia, "although I give my imagination some credit."

He has received grants from the Mercer County Cultural Heritage Commission and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Early recognition came in the 1960's as a member of the innovative Smokehouse Painters, a group of painters and sculptors commissioned by the City of New York and funded by the Museum of Modern Art.

"I got into photography and Photoshop in 2002," he says. "One drawing led to another. It's all about destroying and reassembling. Eventually the art takes on a life of its own."

The following art by Guy Ciarcia.


Questions and Opinions

Reincarnation of a God

Still Life on Table with Elephant

The Alchemist

The Candidate

The Loneliest Monk


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