West of Eden – Sylvia Benitez
|Dimensions||37 × 37 in|
Oil on canvas, Painting
Courtesy of the Artist
About the Artist
"Sylvia Benitez is a nationally awarded artist; the recipient of many awards from numerous granting foundations, including an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grant, two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Awards, an AICA Award (Association of International Critics of Art for best exterior sculpture installation, Puerto Rico, 1997), two National Endowment for the Arts Visiting Artist Fellowships, a Puffin Foundation Award, an Empire State Craft Award, two Sculpture Space Residencies, and two MacDowell Colony Fellowships. Benitez also has also received artist residencies from Yaddo, VCCA, Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and Altos de Chavon, Dominican Republic.
Her installations and creative works have been shown in numerous museums, sculpture parks and galleries throughout the USA including The Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion, Wave Hill, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Neuberger Museum of Art: SUNY Purchase, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The American Craft Museum, The McNay Museum of Art, Art Omi, Johns Hopkins University, The El Paso Museum of Art, The Islip Museum, The Abington Art Center, Texas State University's Mitte Gallery, The Schuylkill Environmental Center, The Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, Franklin Furnace, NYC, The Beeville Museum, and The Museo De Historia, Anthropologia y Arte, Puerto Rico.
She is the founder and president of The Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association (GAGA), a twelve-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit, serving women artists of south Texas. The organization has an active membership of sixty members and has served over one hundred women artists since its inception. For GAGA, Benitez has curated, installed, and marketed over 30 thematic exhibitions, many of those being all-member shows.
Every day, I observe discreet majesty: rolling hills, big skies, long views, and jade-green rivers. I am inspired by south Texas. Here, there still exists an untamed land, relatively unmarred by modern footprint. I try to capture this pristine nature—its pioneer spirit/essence. My resulting work, however, is not of one specific location. Instead, it is an amalgam (the result of many landscape variations I see daily) painted from memory.
Lately, my love of landscape painting has taken on a new meaning/significance. I am reminded of the ball jar paintings I did just after college—conceptual environmental pieces—the message obvious: preserve. My message today is quiet but no less powerful. We must appreciate and see, experience, and respect our world. It needs to be celebrated as much as it needs to be protected."