Miles McEnery Gallery is pleased to announce a presentation of new paintings by Amy Bennett. A public reception will be held for the artist on 11 July from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at 520 West 21st Street, and the exhibition will be on view 11 July through 16 August. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication, featuring an essay by Eleanor Heartney.
Amy Bennett’s paintings offer a window into what Eleanor Heartney termed the “unhistoric acts” of everyday life. In this new body of work, Bennett calls attention to these seemingly unremarkable moments of contemporary family life by painting them on a miniature scale, encouraging the viewer to take a closer look.
In order to create her depictions of domestic activity, the artist builds miniscule three-dimensional models and then paints what she sees, working from both her imagination and from life. Using everyday materials such as wood, Styrofoam, and plastic, Amy Bennett fabricates her own worlds whose scenes inform her paintings.
What results from this model world is a stream of narratives that Bennett translates into her paintings in a style that Heartney calls “an unsettling kind of realism – simultaneously artificial and naturalistic.” Whilst her compositions represent a moment frozen in time, they are by no means static; her paintings buzz with the energy of a living experience. As Heartney writes, “The glimpses we are afforded are always partial, although in some cases the continuity of setting suggests that we may be observing different moments in a connected narrative.”
By isolating fleeting and quotidian moments, Bennett invites the viewer to introspect on what is often overlooked. Upon closer investigation, these moments reveal themselves as more unsettling than comfortable. The artist’s use of differing perspectives— incorporating both bird’s eye views and zoomed-in close ups—simultaneously creates the comfort of context and a sense of disorientation.
On this new body of work, Bennett remarks, “I have painted scenes of suburban home life in the past, but they were more related to themes of isolation and voyeurism... Now that I am entrenched in family life myself, my perspective has shifted. ‘Nuclear Family’ is more concerned with the vulnerabilities and anxieties of parenthood and marriage.”
Witnessed together, these paintings celebrate Amy Bennett’s deft and precise use of color and light. The exhibition at 520 West 21st Street is rich in character—even literary—and ultimately calls attention to the mysteries that often pervade ordinary life.
Amy Bennett (b. 1977 in Portland, ME) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999 from the University of Hartford, CT and her Master of Fine Arts in 2002 from the New York Academy of Art, NY.
She has had numerous solo exhibitions internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include “Nuclear Family” at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT; Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden; Permanent Mosaic Installation, 86th Street & 4th Avenue, MTA Arts for Transit, Brooklyn, NY; Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; and Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL.
Recent group exhibitions include The Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT; Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; Wilding Cran Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Oakland University Art Gallery, Rochester, MI; Southampton Art Center, Southampton, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY; Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden; Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; MUba Eugène-Leroy, Tourcoing, France; Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY; American Academy of Arts & Letters, New York, NY; Kumukum Gallery, New York, NY; and Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY.
The artist is the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant; Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Painting; American Academy of Arts & Letters Purchase Award; New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship; Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Program; New York Foundation for the Arts/Deutsche Bank Fellowship; Smack Mellon Studio Program; Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant; Prince of Wales Scholarship to Normandy; New York Academy of Art Research Fellowship; Felicia C. Miller Award for Artistic Excellence; and the Barbara Podorowsky Memorial Award for Excellence in Painting.
Amy Bennett lives and works in Cold Spring, NY.