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Andrea Benson, Takes Two

Andrea Benson, Takes Two (2009), encaustic on paper and drawing on wood panel [23 Sandy Gallery, Portland OR, May 6-29]

Andrea Benson: Hands and Minds

23 Sandy Gallery
Portland OR – May 6-29, 2010

Andrea Benson, Wader2

Andrea Benson, Wader2 (2009), encasutic with paper and drawing on wood panel [23 Sandy Gallery, Portland OR, May 6-29]

Portland artist Andrea Benson has successfully worked in ceramics, papermaking, printmaking, photography and collage. After receiving a BFA in Art from Penn State and a BFA in Interior Design from Marylhurst University, she has painted with encaustics for the past seven years.

For her new work in Hands and Minds, Benson has combined drawing, paper and encaustic to create a fanciful group of figurative paintings. Showing her interest in inner narratives and memories that translate into the universal, the mixed media panels reveal opulent layers of drawing and collage embedded within the depths of wax medium. The radiant and milky effect of the encaustic method enhances the transitory, fantasy-like subjects of her artwork.

For her subject matter, she has used subtle hand gestures to reflect avenues within the mind. Benson’s romantic vision is executed through the elegant compositions where we see dream-like characters in graceful poses. As the artist states, “Hands, arms and stance are explored as handmaidens of the mind – a mind imagined as individual, collective, cultural and environmental.”

The facial identity of Benson’s “handmaidens” is mostly obscured, as if the figures are meant to act as metaphors for emotional events or archetypal experiences. In Wader, a sensual woman emerges from an ethereal water-like reflection. Her hands and arms are in full focus while the rest of the softly rendered composition depicts surreal sensations. In Hanging Meadow, an elongated woman is draped in delicate clothing that literally spills into a foreground of cartoon-like flowers.

Allyn Cantor

 Tue, Apr 6, 2010