Amy Bennett’s dreamlike scenes depict a miniaturized world playing at reality.
Bennett 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 a 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.
Black Dog Publishing has just released a monograph of the artist’s work entitled Amy Bennett: Small Changes Every Day.
More About Amy Bennett:
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 Richard Heller Gallery at Volta, New York, NY; Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden; Permanent Mosaic Installation, 86th Street & 4th Avenue Brooklyn Subway Station, MTA Arts for Transit, Brooklyn, NY; Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; and Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL.
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, Los Angles, 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; Richard Heller Gallery at Pulse, 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's work is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.
Bennett lives in Cold Spring, NY and works in Beacon, NY.
1977, Portland, Maine
2002 MFA, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
1999 BFA, summa cum laude, University of Hartford, Hartford, CT
St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford University, Oxford, England
University of Georgia Art School in Cortona, Italy
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Small Changes Every Day, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Time Speeds Up, Ameringer McEnery Yohe, New York, NY
Volta New York (two-person booth), Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
Sore Spots, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden
Heydays, (Permanent Mosaic Installation) 86th St. & 4th Ave. Brooklyn Subway Station, MTA Arts for Transit, NY
At the Lake, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Vacationland, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Out in the Open, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden
Neighbors, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Buried, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden
Stories, Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Ethics of Depiction: Landscape, Still Life, Human, Oakland University Art Gallery, Rochester, MI
American Genre curated by Michelle Grabner, Institute of Contemporary Art - Maine College of Art , Portland, ME
Small, Purdy Hicks Gallery, South Kensington, London (July 7 - September 2)
Dallas Art Fair, Richard Heller Gallery, Dallas, TX
EXPO Chicago, Richard Heller Gallery, Chicago, IL
Seattle Art Fair, Richard Heller Gallery, Seattle, WA
Water|Bodies, Southampton Art Center, Southampton, NY
20th Anniversary Show, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY
Disturbing Innocence, curated by Eric Fischl, The FLAG Art Foundation, NY
Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, HVCCA, Peekskill, NY
Stirring Still (curated by Ioana Manolache and Maria Stabio), LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY
EXPO CHICAGO, Richard Heller Gallery, Chicago, IL
The Armory Show, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
Volta New York, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
Faux Life, Richard Heller Gallery, LA
Time Waits for Us, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm
XS: Extra Small, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Otherworldly, MUba Eugene Leroy, Tourcoing, France
Frieze Art Fair, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, London
Otherworldly: Optical Delusions & Small Realties, Museum of Art & Design, New York, NY
Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, American Academy of Arts & Letters, New York, NY
Exhibition of Work by Newly Elected Members and Recipients of Honors and Awards, American Academy of Arts & Letters, New York, NY
Today is Yesterday Tomorrow, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm
Art Basel, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Basel
Art Fair Tokyo, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
The Armory Show, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
Landscape and Solitude, Kumukumu Gallery, New York, NY
Frieze, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, London, UK
The Armory Show, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
LA in NY Art Fair, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
Size Matters: XS, HVCCA, Peekskill, NY
Pulse Miami Art Fair Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
The Armory Show, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, New York, NY
LA Art Fair, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
The Gallery: Gallery Artists + Friends, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden
Spike Gallery New York, NY
Something is Somewhere, Monya Rowe Gallery, New York, NY
Art Chicago International Art Fair, Chicago, IL
Points of Muse, Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL
Public Domain, Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL
The Burbs, DFN Gallery, New York, NY
Space Invaders, Fish Tank Gallery, New York, NY
CAA Exhibit, Hunter College Art Gallery, New York, NY
Ana 31, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT
MFA Thesis Exhibition Oxford University, Oxford, England
Take Home a Nude, Sotheby’s, New York, NY
Wood Memorial Millennium Biennial National Juried Competition, CT
15th Annual National Works on Paper, Meadows Gallery, University of Texas, TX
David Pagel: Small Changes Every Day, Gallery Magazine (China), December 19
Leah Ollman: Are those model buildings or a painting? For artist Amy Bennett, the answer is both, Sep. 27
Juliet Helmke: Amy Bennett, Modern Painters, September
Eleanor Heartney: Amy Bennett-Small Changes Everyday, Black Dog Publishing
Susan Hodara: Seven Museums, Each Offering a Deadly Sin, The New York Times, May 9
Margherita Dessanay and Marc Valli: A Brush with the Real: Figurative Painting Today, London: Lawrence King Publishing
Margaret McCann: The Figure: Painting Drawing, and Sculpture, New York: Skira Rizzoli
Carol Kino: “A Peephole Perspective on Tiny Worlds,” The New York Times, June 9, p. 20
Eduard M. Gomez: “Irresistible Illusions and Other Worlds,” Sculpture Magazine, Sept.
Goings on About Town: Art – “Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities,” The New Yorker, July 25, p. 13
Carolina A. Miranda: “This Week: Must See Arts in the City: Otherworldly,” NPR, June 9-15
Ben Chapman: “Brooklyn Artist has Heart of Glass: Working on Mural for Subway Station,” NY Daily News, March 3
Henry Stewart: “The Artist on Her New R Train Mosaic and the Nabe that Inspired It,” The L Magazine, March 8
Harold Egein: “Subway Art Coming to 86th Street R Station, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 17
Marc Valli: “Microworlds,” Elephant Magazine, Summer
Christopher Knight: “Amy Bennett at Richard Heller Gallery,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 22
Alex Bec: “Amy Bennett,” It's Nice That, Issue #2, Oct.
Andrew Choate: “Amy Bennett ‘At the Lake’ at Richard Heller,” Art Ltd. Magazine, March
Ji-myeong Hwang: “In Studio: Amy Bennett,” Vogue Girl Korea, No. 92 Oct.
Hannah Sloan: “Amy Bennet: At the Lake,” THE Magazine, Feb/March
Nicole Pasulka: “At the Lake,” TheMorningNews.org, May 18
Susie Nadler: “New Paintings from Amy Bennett: Lakefront Series,” ApartmentTherapy.com, May 7
Simon DeBurton: “Eight that could shake the world,” Financial Times, Sept. 29
Camilla Hammarström: “The Smell of Snow,” Aftonbladet, Sept.
Joanna Persman: “Small Stories Become Disturbingly Real,” Svenska Dagbladet, Sept. 8
Anders Olofsson: “Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm: Amy Bennett,” konsten.net Sept.-Oct.
Jori Finkel: “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” Art + Auction, Apr. p.147
Holly Myers: “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 26, E27
Christopher Bedford: “Amy Bennett,” ArtForum.com, Jan.-Feb.
Nicole Pasulka: “Neighbors,” TheMorningNews.org, Jan. 22-29
Gregory Han: “The Gallery: Amy Bennett,” ApartmentTherapy.com, Jan. 9
Simon Sandall: Interview, www.readersvoice.com, Feb.
Stephanie Young: “Rear Window,” Vellum No. 5, June
Jenny Ziomek: “From a Distance,” NY Arts Magazine, March-April
Margaret Hawkins: “Amy Bennett,” ARTnews, Sept.
Margaret Hawkins: “Amy Bennett,” Chicago Sun-Times, Apr. 22
Joanne Hinkel: “Art Trips,” Centerstage Chicago, Apr. 18
Lisa Skolnik: “The Art of Amy Bennett, Design & Architecture,” Chicago Edition, August, pp. 8, 10, 32-35
Margaret Littman: “Ten Things to do this Weekend,” Crain’s Chicago Business Online, August
Benjamin Zoltak: “Can of Culture,” Centerstage Chicago Online, August
Marcel Krenz, “Space Invaders: Six Painters & Two Sculptors Reconstruct Representation,” Contemporary, Issue 55
“Up & Coming,” Brooklyn Free Press, May 2-8
GRANTS & AWARDS
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (Fine Arts)
Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc.
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, Brooklyn, NY
New York Foundation for the Arts / Deutsche Bank Fellowship
Smack Mellon Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY
Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant
Prince of Wales Scholarship to Normandy, France
Research Fellowship, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
Felicia C. Miller Award for Artistic Excellence
Barbara Podorowsky Memorial Award for Excellence in Painting
Metropolitan Museum of Art
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