ARTisSpectrum Vol.30, November 2013 - page 20-21

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ARTisSpectrum | Volume 30 | artisspectrum.com
ARTisSpectrum | Volume 30 | artisspectrum.com
21
T
he work of
Petra Aichholz
is tied to the earth,
both in material and concept. Her huge, map-
like, multimedia pieces are created with acrylics and
natural materials like sand, copper, silver and gold,
which imprint her pieces with “the treasures of the
earth,” as she says.
Aichholz was a lawyer until 2006, when a cancer
diagnosis forced her to reassess her life and how
she wanted to spend it. Perhaps this sudden change
in viewpoint and goals, which inspired Aichholz to
become a full-time artist, also influenced her work.
Aichholz says she focuses on questioning the viewer’s
understanding and perspective by using unexpected
color, strange and vague formations, and tactile
forms that give her pieces a sense of heft and solidity.
Aichholz generates a feeling of fascination and wonder
by looking at the earth from above, where one sees it
in a new way and possibly with greater compassion.
Even Aichholz’s abstract works convey this concept,
filled as they are with slightly familiar shapes that
elude concrete identification.
As an artist, Aichholz is always searching for balance
in her work. As she puts it, “To connect old and new,
planning and chance to a touching whole, this is art.”
Aichholz wants her paintings to be oases of calm in
the noisy, busy space of modern life. Because of this,
she works slowly and deliberately, building up the
image layer by layer. She wants people to look at her
work and pause, to think of the strength of the earth
that underlies the technology and material of their
cities and towns. In many ways the work of Aichholz
is that of an idealist, searching for the pure material
and meaning of art, hoping it will reflect the elemental
nature of providence and fate in our lives.
Petra Aichholz
Petra in her Studio
One Earth Gold Acrylic on Canvas 16” x 47”
One Earth Yellow Acrylic on Canvas 39.5” x 39.5”
“To connect old and new,
planning and chance to
a touching whole, this is
art.”
T
heresa Bendzius
’ abstract works are unbridled displays
of color and form as subject. Bendzius has an exceptional
talent for experimentation with materiality across media and
within the particulars of oil paint itself. In her collages, she
mixes organic and synthetic three-dimensional objects, found
imagery, and different traditional art media together. The final
scene is assembled with a playful cohesion – the whole makes
sense, even as the viewer is acutely aware of the disparate parts.
This dual awareness, the basic principle of representational art,
is the foundational layer.
The artist builds her unique visual language out of countless
other aesthetic layers. Her purely abstract works begin with a
simple graphic skeleton: a single color gradient, an invisible
grid, one large diagonal splitting the canvas in two. Upon this
framework, Bendzius tests the limits of her paint. It is dripped,
caked, blended, splashed, and scored. It doubles back on
itself in coats; it thins to the point of transparency. It leaves
large swaths of canvas exposed – another kind of rawness to
juxtapose the unmediated movement of pigment.
Bendzius was born in Philadelphia and today works from her studio in Camden County, New Jersey. She is also an
accomplished portraitist and three-dimensional artist.
Joker Collage and Acrylic on Wood 24” x 24”
Theresa Bendzius
I
nspired by the colors, harsh winters and vastness of Northern Canada,
Monique Robert
’s paintings and sculptures pay tribute to nature’s
ceaseless wonders.
Combining bone, rigid foam and papier-mâché, Robert’s sculpted works
serve as tactile reminders of creatures past and present. Many works
skillfully unite impression with imagination, challenging the viewer to
ascend to higher planes of perception, as familiar shapes evolve into
forms unfamiliar and provocative. Her humanist pieces depict forms in
angular poses, sculptures set in rigid foam and acrylic, yet resembling
classic marble or stone works in sharp relief.
Robert’s use of sun-bleached bones adds an earthy grounding to some
works, lending credibility to the existence of creatures represented. Her
mythological pieces are contemplative, arousing curiosity, suggesting
a link to life forms borne to another time and place. Here, anatomies
segue from bone to materials artificially constructed, as the artist
moves form and structure in smooth transition, a move that frees the
imagination to accept that such creatures once roamed the earth. To
be in control, to augment nature with such specificity and artistry is the
unique talent Robert brings to every piece.
Triceratops
Moose Skull & Papier-mâché 33” x 16” x 15”
Monique Robert
1...,2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9,10-11,12-13,14-15,16-17,18-19 22-23,24-25,26-27,28-29,30-31,32-33,34-35,36-37,38-39,40-41,...132
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