Interview: Amy Bennett
Amy Bennett beschäftigt sich in in ihren Gemälden mit den kleinen Dingen, die den amerikanischen Vorstadttraum ausmachen, der allerdings vielfach im Detail durch unerwartete Ereignisse gebrochen wird.
Durch die starke stilistische Strukturiertheit sowie die oft eingesetzte isometrische Sicht neben künstlich wirkender Beleuchtung scheinen viele ihrer Bilder wie TiltShift-Fotografien oder Screenshots der Sims, was den Bruch zwischen Idealbild und dem dahinter Versteckten weiter verstärkt.
Diskursdisko: Hi Amy. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you start painting?
Amy Bennett: I started painting in high school, mostly on my own. I absolutely loved art school. I got my degree in fine arts with a printmaking major, and then got my MFA in NY where I’ve been working ever since.
Diskursdisko: How do you mainly produce your art?
Amy Bennett: For the past several years I have created models of interiors, houses, and landscapes to serve as still lifes for my paintings. I usually have some narrative or moment in mind that I depict three dimensionally. Then I light it for the desired mood or effect, like a stage set, and then I paint the scene. I have also been varnishing and sanding my paintings to produce a smooth, flat surface.
Diskursdisko: What inspires you?
Amy Bennett: I get a lot of inspiration from just watching people — how they interact, how they hold their bodies. Luckily, there are plenty of people in NYC, but books are also a reliable inspiration for me, whether they are of other people’s art, artists’ biographies or works of fiction.
Diskursdisko: Your art has a very unique style — paintings that are not only reminiscent of miniature models, but are actually very small themselves, with size being measured in inches. How did you develop this style?
Amy Bennett: I prefer working in a small scale where details of facial expressions and clothing styles are irrelevant. I made larger figures for awhile, but they always seemed corny to me. Because I am so detail oriented, at a larger scale I couldn’t escape addressing a person’s particular hairstyle or what they were wearing, which was distracting and beside the point of my image. I found that by painting people about one inch tall, it was enough for me to just indicate the color of hair and clothes and the orientation of a head without getting bogged down in superfluous information. The people had more mystery to them. So in images where a person occupies an interior, the panel size is quite small, maybe just a couple of inches, whereas a figure in a broad landscape requires a much bigger panel.
Diskursdisko: Quite a few of your paintings, particularly the aerial views remind me of The Sims. Are you a Sims player?
Amy Bennett: A lot of people made that connection with those paintings, but I have never played the Sims. I’m very old school about video games — Tetris is my favorite. Those paintings were inspired more by architectural floor plans, Rear Window, short stories, and the experience of living in a high rise apartment building.
Diskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at amybennett.com, any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?
Amy Bennett: I’m afraid I’m not much of a social networker, so my galleries’ websites are the best places to see my work online. Themorningnews.org also recently posted an interview and gallery of works from my show At the Lake. Also: Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Richard Heller Gallery and Linda Warren Gallery
Amy Bennett: I don’t spend much time browsing the internet. I prefer to see art in person, so I frequently check various galleries’ and museums’ websites to figure out what I should go see. I don’t have an internet connection in my studio and by the time I get home, I’m not that interested in sitting in front of a computer.
Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?
Amy Bennett: Exposure, Taking Arms, Into the Woods, and On Dry Land are favorites today. I’m also excited about my new monotypes, although I don’t think they’re represented all that well online. It’s a new process for me that requires me to work and think about painting in a different way. While definitely related to my paintings, the prints have an airiness and quickness to them that I hope to incorporate into future paintings. Galleri Magnus Karlsson will be showing my monotypes this September.
Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?
Amy Bennett: No, I really don’t, and I usually prefer to plan things out very far ahead. But, I’m going to try to resist that comfort and take some time to explore a bit so that I keep myself interested and challenged. I might like to try making some sculpture, and as I said, incorporating some of the qualities of my monotypes into my paintings.
Diskursdisko: Amy, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?
Amy Bennett: No, but thanks for your interest!
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