Ben Perini – born in Brooklyn – a self-taught artist with an imaginative vision of fictional realism. Perini’s artistic aesthetic was shaped early on by the great museums of New York City. Broadened his vision within a thirty-plus year career as a professional illustrator, and all that is involved in the practice of creating art everyday. Now bringing all of this draftsman’s skill, experience, and life to his art.

The art – imaginative fictional portraits – strong, charged, and challenging – are larger than life charcoal drawings. The visibly hand drawn art displays grace, beauty, and playfulness as the work reveals an ambiguous boundary between the real and the imagined. Drawing the viewer into this world of thought-provoking themes — exploring the unintended consequences of government, religion, and other institutions on the environment.

Using a mix of sixteenth century portraits and modern photographs for reference to create fictional portraits as a support, base, or best stated as a starting point to explore and express thoughts that transcend reality. These narrative portraits are dramatic in their visual quality — to entertain with detailed rendering, layered symbolism, and hidden imagery. Equally dramatic is the scale of the art which adds a theatrical element — with the intent is to create a stage for the art and the viewer to inhabit together.


Current Group Exhibitions

19th Annual WAH Salon Show
Saturday, January 20 – Sunday, February 18, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 20, 2018 4-6pm

Curated by Yuko Nii, Coordinated by Richard Sanchez

WAH Center (Williamsburg Art & Historical Center)
135 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY

Group Exhibitions

16th Annual Jean Townsend Award Exhibition
November 1st – November 29th
Art Alliance, Red Bank, NJ

Three – October 7th – November 1st
Art Alliance, Red Bank, NJ

INTERACTIVE. BWAC’s Fall Member Art Exhibition
BWAC Gallery – Red Hook, Brooklyn

Art Alliance – September 9th – October 4th
Art Alliance, Red Bank, NJ

Shades, SECCA Premiere & Gallery Event
SECCA Museum, Winston-Salem, NC

Issues of Identity, Eleanor & Egbert Davis Gallery,
Sawtooth School for Visual Art, Winston-Salem, NC

Carolina’s Got Art, Elder Gallery,
Charlotte, North Carolina

Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition, Artworks Gallery,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

State of the Art/Art of the State
Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, North Carolina

Picturing This, Eleanor & Egbert Davis Gallery,
Sawtooth School for Visual Art, Winston-Salem, NC

Three Realities: Drawing, Sculpture, Painting, Artworks Gallery,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Faculty Exhibition, Eleanor & Egbert Davis Gallery,
Sawtooth School for Visual Art, Winston-Salem, NC

Solo Exhibitions
July – September 2015 –
Gallery at Steele Group Architects, Winston-Salem, NC

February 2015
The Black & White Show featuring the art of Ben Perini.
Artworks Gallery, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
The exhibit showcased Perini’s  The Passion Play – one of the largest drawings on paper in North Carolina.

Random Thoughts and the Fictional Portrait, Mary David Holt Gallery,
Salem College’s Elberson Fine Arts Center, Winston-Salem, NC

16/6 Landing Gallery, Sixteen over Six, Winston-Salem, NC


WSJ: Tom Patterson/Special correspondent | Posted: Sunday, August 9, 2015

. . . Ben Perini’s tour-de-force portrait drawings have attracted favorable attention in recent exhibitions at
other local venues. He’s showing three of these larger-than-life images, and they represent a couple of
distinctive angles on the identity theme. First, they feature Perini’s signature strategy of superimposing
poetically resonant imagery — landscapes, flora and fauna etc. — directly onto his vividly realistic
portraits. And second, the subjects of these portraits are black, and Perini is white, although he steers
clear of the stereotyping tendencies that his co-exhibitor Beal critically exposes in her work.
Without ignoring his subject’s ethnicity, Perini emphasizes each one’s individuality. Their reflective
countenances and the imagery he has superimposed on them highlight their psychological dimension and
hint at aspects of personal development. His “Portrait of a Queen,” for example, isn’t literally a royal
portrait, but the striking young woman portrayed in it might be undergoing a personal transformation,
symbolized by the trail of butterflies winding gracefully across her face among delicately rendered
flowers and vegetation. The crown of gnarled, ancient-looking trees emerging from the top of her head,
meanwhile, suggests personal strength and a firm grounding in her heritage and culture. She has become
the queen of her own life.  . . .

WSJ: Tom Patterson/Special Correspondent | Posted:Sunday, November 23, 2014

. . . Also on view in the downtown arts district, at Artworks Gallery, is a three-artist show whose highlights are five drawings by Ben Perini. Having joined Artworks last year, Perini is showing here for the first time — a plus for the gallery because his work is strong and provocative.
After years of experience as a professional illustrator, Perini made the leap into creating stand-alone art. He brings all of his draftsman’s skill to his series of large-scale, allegorical portrait drawings.

In each of them an expressive, life-like face is surrounded by or visually fused with smaller-scale imagery that thematically drives the piece. The long, dark hair of the woman in “She Was the River” becomes a dense forest through which a river flows from the upper background into her forehead, while fish swim below the river’s surface in a sub-aquatic view superimposed on her face.

Perini’s “Prayer in the Face of Sufficient Reason” is about the misuse of religious faith as an excuse for disregarding science. A blindfold is wrapped around the eyes of this drawing’s androgynous profile face, while the long hair swept back from it swarms with open eyes and tiny images related to evolution, atomic science, geology, genomics and climate change.  . . .