Artist James Benjamin Franklin Shows New Work at Reyes Finn

’Practice’ features nine large-scale pieces by the Detroit painter
James Benjamin Franklin
James Benjamin Franklin “Prior,” 2022 // Image courtesy of Reyes Finn

Reyes Finn, a contemporary art gallery based in Detroit, is now showing Practice, a solo exhibition by painter James Benjamin Franklin. The show features nine new large-scale works — over 6 feet tall each — by the local artist. 


Franklin is known for his bold, colorful paintings, which he creates within hand-built, plaster-sculpted frames. The artist uses unique materials — afghans, bathroom mats, kitchen rags, and more — in his pieces to build texture and play with form. Some of the items are purchased new while others are found in places like his home or Detroit thrift stores


“James’s paintings are a perfect balance,” says Bridget Finn, a partner at Reyes Finn, in a press release. “Each work is composed of endless decisions and handmade moves by the artist that result in an undeniably refined finished work. His color choices are daring and bold, his textures absorb and reflect light allowing the paintings to dance off the wall. 


“Each time James makes a work, there exists a moment when he relinquishes control to the painting itself. The scale of his paintings bewitches the senses, evoking memories of jewel-tone ceramic tiles that line the walls of Detroit’s historical buildings or the once glittering paint job of a classic car rolling down the street…”


Practice, which is on view through Feb. 26, is Franklin’s third solo show with Reyes Finn. Franklin was born in Washington and now lives in Detroit. He completed his MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2017, and in the last few years, he has also shown his work in Mexico City, Mexico; Louisville, Kentucky; New York City; and Los Angeles, California.  


Reyes Finn, located at 1500 Trumbull Ave., is open by appointment from noon to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Those interested in viewing Franklin’s exhibit can schedule a visit online. 


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