Concrete Abstraction

Australian artist Ben Thomas (b. 1981) focuses on urban spaces. Having experimented in his earlier practice with techniques including tilt-shift and kaleidoscopes, the featured series Chroma I (2015) and Chroma II (2016) decode cities, highlighting colour and tonal flatness. Locations including Melbourne, New York, London and Florence are depicted within a surreal plane wherein everyday palettes are enhanced into ostensible brilliance. Block colours and smoothed shadows transpose the recognisable environments of contemporary society into artifice, whilst luminous aquamarine skies and pastel yellow concrete introduce the shapes of buildings into plastic worlds. By intensifying colours and distorting the boundaries between reality and abstraction, Thomas poses questions about how society defines the places in which we live: how far do we have to digitalise our surroundings until they are noticeably unnatural?