Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

June 27, 1957, saw the birth of Sylvia Benitez, a well-known personality in American visual arts who is renowned for her significant contributions to atmospheric painting and sculptural installations. Her more than forty-year artistic career has been marked by a variety of media, with a particular concentration on landscape painting and sculpture. Benitez’s distinct method combines inventive use of locally sourced flora and materials with an investigation of Arte Povera’s ideas.

Penelope, Gallery Nord, baling, twine and steel. 2009

Benitez’s accolades include two Pollock-Krasner Foundation awards in 1997 and 2000, an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Individual Support Grant in 2011, and an AICA award for her exterior sculpture installation in Puerto Rico in 1997. Her notable fellowships include residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sculpture Space, The Vermont Studio Center, and others.

Being the president and founder of The Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association (GAGA) is one of the most notable elements of Sylvia Benitez’s career, and it demonstrates her dedication to encouraging artistic expression and teamwork within the creative community.

The Library Art Gallery at South Texas College recently showcased Benitez’s work in a special exhibit, aligning with the college’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. The exhibition, curated until December 2, 2016, highlighted Benitez’s highly skilled, large-scale paintings that draw inspiration from the remote landscapes of 19th-century romanticism while embracing the conceptual principles of modern abstraction.

Sylvia Benitez’s Puerto Rican heritage and its profound influence on her artwork took center stage during a special talk at the Pecan Library Rainbow Room, where she shared insights into her creative process. The exhibit, located on the second floor of the Pecan Campus Library, offered the community a chance to engage with the artist’s rich cultural heritage.

Regarding Benitez’s artwork, Gina Otvos, an associate at STC Art Gallery, said, “The natural world has served as a mirror for the ego for ages. We are given the chance to consider our own unique geography as we consider the abstracted figures in the clouds or the shadows on far-off patches of land.”

Benitez’s creative journey is an intriguing story that begins with her investigation of physical space in the crowded New York City skyline following her 1979 graduation from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Moving to the country, where she found inspiration in the expansive rural skyscapes of South Texas had a major impact on her work.

Describing her relationship with Nature, Benitez stated, “I cannot capture Nature, and I do not try to. One might say, however, that it has captured me.” This sentiment encapsulates her deep connection with the natural world, a connection that has fueled her artistic endeavors for decades.

Benitez’s latest show, Nocturnes and Promises, at Austin, Texas’s Wally Workman Gallery, included her contemplations on resolution and hope. Her depictions of landscapes serve as metaphors, encapsulating emotions shaped by recollections of the South Texas terrain.

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