Michael Alderson & Stephen Benenson

<b>Michael Alderson</b>, <i>Untitled</i>, oil pastel on paper, 2008
Michael Alderson, Untitled, oil pastel on paper, 2008

<b>Stephen Benenson</b>, <i>The City</i>, Oil on canvas, 2006-2008
Stephen Benenson, The City, Oil on canvas, 2006-2008

"The shadow escapes from the body like an animal we had been sheltering."
— Gilles Deleuze (Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation)

This September at Whitney Art Works preconceived notions of portraiture will be altered with works by Michael Alderson and Stephan Benenson.

Alderson and Benenson’s elongated, distorted, and mysterious figures are filled with emotion and power. The bleak atmospheres that these figures occupy give them an uncomfortable yet highly intriguing aura. Not limited to one specific narrative, the works become representations of human sensations, the figures concealing their stories, leaving the viewer with their inescapable intensity. Each individual figure embodies many complex human emotions.

In Alderson’s own words “When using temperature in colors to create space, I have thought that possibly uncomfortable images may become more interesting by merely placing them in space. Creating a push and pull within and around them, putting distance, a realistic, believable distance behind such an image would make a viewer wish to get to the back of it, passing what is first on the way.” Alderson uses color and light to seduce the viewer’s senses while creating a sense of wonder. His large scale oil pastel drawings are evocative imagery, with a palimpsest of delicate color and texture.

Stephen Benenson’s gestural graphite drawings and luscious oil paintings are teeming with energy and action. Far from being static portraits, Benenson has said about his own work, “The image of a person never appears in memory the way it does in photographs or in person. I find that the way I feel about somebody, and the way they fit in their environment, changes my visual memory of them.” The equivocal paintings and drawings immediately strike the viewer with a sense of inexplicable sensation. Elements of collage in the paintings add a subtle sense of whimsy that counterbalance the intensity of the work. Aggressive yet eloquent mark making within the works creates an intimate and slightly distant experience with his figures.

Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Michael Alderson received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1992. He currently lives and works in Maine.

Stephen Benenson studied painting in California, Italy and Massachusetts, recieving his BA from Wheaton College in 2002. He currently lives in Portland, Maine.

Works by Michael Alderson & Stephen Benenson will be on view from September 3rd to September 27th, with an opening reception on September 5th from 5-8pm. Gallery hours are Wed–Sat 12-6 pm or by appointment.

© Whitney Art Works, All Rights Reserved. 45 York Street, Portland, Maine 04101 Voice: 207-780-0700

You are viewing the printer-friendly version of Michael Alderson & Stephen Benenson