Richard Heller Gallery is proud to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Amy Bennett. Small Changes Every Day will open on September 10, 2016, and will remain on view through October 15, 2016. A public reception for the artist, who will be in California for this event, will be held at the gallery on September 10 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. This exhibition marks Bennett's third solo exhibition at Richard Heller Gallery.
Bennett’s dreamlike scenes depict a miniaturized world playing at reality.
The artist designs and paints from miniature 3D models, allowing her total creative control of the scenes she imagines. She is able to manipulate composition, light, and vantage point, often in an attempt to simulate the inadequacies of memory, dreams, and the imagination.
As an evolving still life for her new paintings, Bennett built a diorama of a fictional rural landscape and gradually developed it into farmland and ultimately, a town. Citing inspiration from an altered perception of time after having a baby, a move upstate from New York City to the Hudson Valley, Google Earth images of towns, and old city maps, Bennett has spent nearly four years creating her most recent series.
Beginning with an 8-foot square of styrofoam, Bennett carved mountains, valleys, rivers and ponds, and propagated a verdant fake landscape with hundreds of wire and foam trees. She fabricated over 450 wooden buildings in 1/500 scale (similar to the size of a Monopoly hotel): houses, garages, commercial buildings, storefronts, and schools and painted each by hand. The tiny structures gradually populated her artificial town. She then mapped the complete village and stages of development over time, documenting the changes in her model through a series of paintings and monotypes beginning with landscape paintings.
Bennett allowed the textures of transparent or partially mixed paint to mimic the natural wildness of the landscape. Bit by bit more order became imposed as property lines emerged and tidy rows of planted farmland developed. Her handling of the paint became more precise as a pond became a grocery store and parking lot; a farmhouse became a school complex; an old house sitting at an odd angle stubbornly remained as the town built up around it.
Bennett’s new paintings invite the viewer to consider shifting relationships to our surroundings over the course of time, and offer an eerie reminder of the persistence of change and the impermanence of everything.
“Amy Bennett has developed another way to suggest the flow of time within the static medium of painting. Her mechanism is the creation of painstakingly detailed miniature models of the worlds that her paintings bring to life. The creation and gradual alterations of these models allow Bennett to indulge a novelistic sensibility as she imagines various scenarios and interrelationships and realizes them in her paintings.
There is something quintessentially American in Bennett’s focus on the complicated dance between privacy and exposure and in the tension between an individualism rooted in the nuclear family and the snares and attractions of community. The settings she selects are precisely those in which the American ideals of freedom and security clash. And the primacy that she gives to nature in so many of these works also reflects the American dream of nature tamed and improved—the promise of the new Eden that is so much a part of American mythology.”
- Eleanor Heartney, from her essay Amy Bennett: Painting Time.
Small Changes Every Day at Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica, California, will run concurrently with an exhibition of other paintings from Bennett's most recent series in Time Speeds Up at Ameringer McEnery Yohe in New York. Black Dog Publishing has just released a monograph of the artist’s work entitled Amy Bennett: Small Changes Every Day.
AMY BENNETT (b. 1977 in Portland, ME) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1999 from the University of Hartford, CT and her Master of Fine Arts degree in 2002 from the New York Academy of Art.
Bennett has had numerous solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, including Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden; Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; and Permanent Mosaic Installation, 86th Street & 4th Avenue Brooklyn Subway Station, MTA Arts for Transit, Brooklyn, NY.
Recent group exhibitions include 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, Santa Monica, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; MUba Eugene Leroy, Tourcoing, France; Galleri Magnus Karlsson at Frieze Art Fair, London, England; Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY; American Academy of Arts & Letters, New York, NY; Tomio Koyama Gallery at Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Tomio Koyama Gallery at Art Fair Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; Richard Heller Gallery at The Armory Show, New York, NY; Kumukum Gallery, New York, NY; and Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY.
Bennett is the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (Fine Arts); 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 2010-11; 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.
Bennett lives in Cold Spring, NY and works in Beacon, NY.