Gretchen Bennett regularly travels between Seattle and New York every year, interested in the viral nature of contemporary art, while making new drawings, sculptures and assemblage installations that grapple with the ambiguous space between popular culture and the marginal. Throughout, the artist uses irony and metaphor of the visual vernacular to bring together notions of art and artifice, the natural and artificial as well as duplicity and paradox. Bennett’s style has undoubtedly evolved from an exposure to Beat culture.
In 2008 the artist introduced a new series of color-pencil drawings in an exhibition titled HELLO which vaguely captured Kurt Cobain, the popular outsider of the early 1990s. Marks of color are seen before the image itself, suspending meaning but leaving experience. An exhibition from 2010 titled Community World Theater consisted of work that responded to the artist’s residency in Reykyavik, Iceland during the previous year. Bennett utilizes castaway objects to appropriate what is usually lost within the clash of opposites.
Visual fragmentation has preserved Gretchen Bennett’s art from the albatross of visual culture, allowing her work to stand out through its subdued nature. Last year, she was awarded the 2010-2011 Swing Space Residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council where she explored the aesthetic differences between John Ruskin and J.W. Turner, along with the catenary curve of Jaspar Johns, and musicians Antony Hegarty and Notorious B.I.G. In July 2011 Bennett published a book titled Windfall Alphabet, showcasing the artist’s most recent work.