“His gutsy yet decisive brushwork is the kind of painting that is so difficult for most of us to get right without losing a feeling of spontaneity…”
Ben Aronson, born in Boston, is an American figurative painter working in figuration, abstract expressionism, and social realism in fine art in the 21st century. He has been influential among and emulated by many contemporary cityscape painters. His paintings are included in the permanent collections of more than fifty museums in the U.S. and abroad and in numerous private and institutional collections.
From early childhood he was immersed in the creative environment of his parents and their friends among professional artists, art dealers, writers, musicians, composers, and actors. He interned at a Boston architectural firm while in high school and considered pursuing architecture at Princeton and Yale. Ultimately deciding on fine art as his path of choice, he enrolled at the School of Fine Arts at Boston University where he earned his BFA and MFA in painting (1976–1982) studying under Philip Guston, James Weeks, David Aronson, Reed Kay, and John Wilson.
Ben traveled to Europe in 1978 to study collections in Greece, Paris, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. Taught fine art at Beaver Country Day School, a private high school in Chestnut Hill, MA from1983 to 1990. In 1990 he left teaching for work as an architectural illustrator which won him a prestigious international award from the American Society of Architectural Perspectivists in 1991. From 1995 to 2007 he was invited yearly to lecture and teach in a Drawing Seminar for architecture students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
In the years since 1990 his work began to appear frequently in group and solo exhibitions at galleries in California, New York City, Chicago and New England. He has presented over 20 solo exhibitions at respected galleries across the U.S., including Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York (2005, 2008, 2010), Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco (2004, 2007, 2008, 2011), Alpha Gallery, Boston (2000, 2002, 2006, 2009). He was elected into the National Academy of Design in New York City in 2004.
“Aronson is also known for his dramatic paintings of cities. His expressive style shows influences from Richard Diebenkorn and other Bay Area artists as well as Franz Kline and his painter father, David Aronson. His style is quite a contrast to the gem-like detail in the paintings of Rackstraw Downes; here complexity is powerfully simplified. The strong value contrasts are visually arresting and give emotional weight; city buildings may rise in the sunlight like glittering kings while people and cars are sneaking about ominously in the shadows.
Aronson is the sort of painter who makes it look easy. His gutsy yet decisive brushwork is the kind of painting that is so difficult for most of us to get right without losing a feeling of spontaneity, without getting bogged down in second-guessing about angles and proportions. He’s so gifted that I imagine his particular challenge is in keeping his work safe from any hint of slickness by keeping it anchored in strong feeling.” source – Painting Perceptions