An essay by John Yau on the paintings of Paul Behnke, written for the exhibition Paul Behnke: Like Giants, on view at The Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia through September 30, 2012.
Yau writes: "Without any hint of irony, Behnke embraces the legacy of improvisation central to a number of the Abstract Expressionists. In his high-key, color-saturated paintings of planar forms and flame-like wisps, he wants to celebrate an imaginative space in which light and solid, translucence and opacity engage in a lively, open-ended dialogue. While Behnke’s paintings may evoke rooms and still-lives, they never become representational. He doesn’t abstract from life, but begins with paint and color. This is the key to his work. The final composition emerges from the act of putting paint on and scraping it away, of finding the painting."