Saturday March 24 to Saturday, April 21, 2007
Opening reception: Friday, March 23 at 8:00 pm
Jane Benson’s prolific art practice is fueled by a fascination with the transformative potential of representation and the reinvention of context. Her works are marked by a careful attention to the connotative subtext of various materials and a furtive critical engagement with issues of appropriation, authorship and the design of culturally significant objects.
Benson’s UNDERBUSH is a large-scale installation comprised of hundreds of hanging foil garlands which drape from the gallery ceiling in a dense canopy of web-like tendrils. Normally flashy and metallic, these readymades have been meticulously spray-painted the tones of the military palette (olive, brown, tan and black), transforming the typically celebratory, tinsel festoon into a muted lattice of organic funereal reverie. A second element of the installation—a set of deconstructed and reassembled camouflage fatigues—conversely refigures one of our most ominous and carefully constructed cultural artifacts into an almost friendly attire of foliage. The delicate beauty of UNDERBUSH—its engagement with high design and the tropes of decoration—is at once relished and destabilized: the heavy mood and oppressive sense of deception which underpins Benson’s project provides a mesmerizing backdrop for its engagement with the ways our cultural systems and inherent power structures define our understanding of our surroundings.
JANE BENSON was born in England, and lives and works in New York. She is a graduate of the Edinburgh College of Art and holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1997). Her solo exhibitions have been presented recently at Black and White Gallery Chelsea and Roebling Hall in New York. She has also taken part in group exhibitions at P.S.1, the Queens Museum of Art, Socrates Sculpture Park, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna and Lothringer Dreizen in Munich. Benson is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant, and was awarded a residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and World Financial Center Arts & Events Residency Program.