Georgetown Art Center
816 South Main Street
Georgetown, Texas 78626
The Night Works exhibition, celebrating the triumph of acrylics, opens at Georgetown Art Center on March 21. This solo exhibition of works by Italian artist Benini features exuberant colors and intriguing depth in paintings that invite the mind to step in.
Seven three-dimensional pieces will also be on display.
“We went to Benini’s studio to select the pieces for Night Works,” explained Nick Ramos, curator of the show. “Half of the paintings in the exhibition are making their public debut in Georgetown.
“Knowing that color is Benini’s mastery, we sought out pieces that carry his trademark technique. We wanted to show these paintings with acrylics blended so smoothly they reveal depth, like a stage curtain opening to a meditative space. ”
The background Benini creates in a time-consuming process with brushes. Once he has achieved the ideal effect, he picks up the pace. The application becomes fast, furious, even risky. Each drop of pigment plays a role in the composition. Each color holds the energy of movement, dancing in the luminous space.
Night Works encompasses moods ranging from resonating silence to rumbles of deep colors to the excitement of action painting. It is the 163rd one-man show of this Italian artist, who shows almost exclusively in public spaces, veteran of Duke University and Portland State University to the most recent show at McAllen International Museum in south Texas.
Benini was born in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, in Imola, where he first painted with oils, many of them scenes of cathedrals and Italian landscapes. He left home at an early age to work on Italian cruise ships, visiting museums across the globe, always studying and painting in his spare time. When he arrived in New York in his early 20’s, he discovered the works of the color field painters. And he discovered acrylics.
Once he started painting with acrylics, he never returned to the medium of his early years. The colors were dazzling. The flexibility of the polymers in acrylics allowed him to roll canvases to ship abroad in the 70’s and 80’s for major exhibitions in Europe. These were shows of the Superroses, the symbol Benini painted for more than 20 years, capturing light, design and color in endless combinations. Then in a move that surprised his international following, after his naturalization in the late 80’s, Benini changed his focus. Even though he confesses he never excelled at mathematics in school, his attention turned to geometry. Starting with simple cubes and spheres, he worked the colors to bring depth and drama to geometric shapes through the 90’s. About five years ago, he switched again, pursuing the abstract, revealing dimensionality.
“In this day when so many superstars of the art world often rely totally on assistants to execute their work, we wanted students to have direct access to Benini and his process, Ramos said. “Every painting is his work, and his alone. He paints at night, thus the title of the show. This is relevant to his work with acrylics. Benini will meet with high school and university students at GAC during the exhibition. Professors and teachers can call ahead for these arrangements.
On March 29th, the Georgetown Art Center will host a Meet Benini reception for the public from 7 to 9 p.m. In addition, Sunday, March 30th, Benini will speak at 1:30 p.m. at GAC.
For further information, call…………………….or visit www.GeorgtownArtCenterTX.org.