James Benjamin Franklin

James Benjamin Franklin’s organically constructed shapes and eclectic textures combine to form a practice that is untethered by limits of the traditional canvas. Pushing the boundaries between painting and sculpture, Franklin expands on the objectness of painting through the use of common industrial materials. The works are created on the floor then the wall and back again, maneuvering his signature irregular supports in their ability to house an array of mediums.

Using a collage of rugs and blankets as his foundation, Franklin’s work references the domestic as a leaping-off point. He mines his imagination through memories and psychological interior spaces intuitively searching for meaning, courting surprise and potential disaster.

James Benjamin Franklin received his BFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA in 1999 and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI in 2017. Recent exhibitions include Cranbrook Museum of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI; KMAC, Louisville, KY; FRONT International, The Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH; Broadway, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI; Reyes | Finn, Detroit, MI; and Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City.

Born in Tacoma, Washington in 1972
Lives and works in Detroit, Michigan

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Installation views of James Benjamin Franklin: Full Circle at Cranbrook Art Museum, November 5, 2022 - March 12, 2023.

Dissonance makes the work come alive. Something inherent to my process is that the pieces have to go through some kind of conflict, some kind of battle—to me, it is this exercise that creates the potential for a compelling and rewarding outcome.

— James Benjamin Franklin

Selected Work

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