The process of wrapping my offering has me meditating on the beauty, meaning and myth of dragonflies. I've come by bucket full of thousands of brass dragonflies in the junk. This offering is becoming a swarming nest of dragonflies.
My Offering series centers on aspects of death, grief, mourning, rebirth, transformation and regeneration. The day Richard called to tell me that a bucket of brass dragonflies had been dropped at the junkyard, I knew I wanted to use them in my artwork. Still, I sat with them for a while, as they spoke to me.
My Offering mixed media sculpture series centers on death and rebirth. I'm in the process of wrapping the offering. The process of wrapping explores the act of devotion and our inherent desire to protect those whom we love from pain and suffering.
BARRETT ART CENTER:
"Shelita Birchett Benash, your work was one of nine from Hudson Valley artists selected for New Directions ’15, Barrett Art Center’s 31st Annual National Juried Contemporary Art Exhibition. Juror Janet Bishop selected your work from upwards of 600 entries from across the country. In her Juror’s Statement, Bishop recognizes your work and the other selections as “works that reflect a strength of conviction—art that seem[s] to hit a high note in fresh, interesting ways no matter what the subject, style, or medium.” Congratulations!"
Thank you, Juror Janet Bishop and Barrett Art Center. I am tremendously honored and elated to have my sculptural work chosen as part of the distinct group of artworks for the New Directions 2015 Contemporary Art Exhibition.
NEW DIRECTIONS 2015 NATIONAL JURIED CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION
SEPTEMBER 26 THRU OCTOBER 31, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: SEPTEMBER 26, SATURDAY, 4PM-7PM
INSIDE THE ARTISTS' STUDIO: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17, 4PM-6PM
BARRETT ART CENTER/DCAA
55 NOX STREET, POUGHKEEPSIE, NY 12601
ABOUT NEW DIRECTIONS and the BARRETT ART CENTER: New Directions is a premier national exhibition of contemporary art in all visual art media, showcasing the current work of established and emerging artists from across the United States working in a varied array of medium and genres. The show is visited by art appreciators and collectors from the Hudson Valley and beyond, including New York City and the suburbs of Connecticut. Now in its 29th year, and juried by professionals of repute from the country’s leading modern art museums, this exhibition brings contemporary art to an atypical venue - the warm and welcoming galleries of Barrett Art Center’s 1830's Greek Revival Townhouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Surprisingly, the Barrett townhouse lends itself well to a dramatic, visually compelling presentation of contemporary and cutting-edge work.
ABOUT OUR JUROR:
Janet Bishop currently serves as the Weisel Family Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). Over the course of her tenure at SFMOMA, Janet has organized dozens of special exhibitions and presentations of the museum’s collection of 20th and 21st-century art, and published and lectured widely. She was one of the lead curators for The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde — an award-winning exhibition that premiered at SFMOMA before traveling to the Grand Palais in Paris, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Other exhibitions of special note include 75 Years of Looking Forward: The Anniversary Show and Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective.
While SFMOMA is undergoing expansion construction, Janet is overseeing its off-site exhibition program—“SFMOMA on the Go”—which presents exhibitions in both traditional and non-traditional venues throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
Janet is currently at work on two special exhibitions slated for SFMOMA’s newly expanded facility: Matisse/Diebenkorn, an exhibition co-organized with The Baltimore Museum of Art that will explore the influence of Henri Matisse on Richard Diebenkorn, and a retrospective of the work of David Park.
Janet was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her B.A. in art history and psychology from Cornell University in 1985 and her M.A. in art history from Columbia University in 1988. Her first museum job was at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell. She currently serves on the Johnson’s Advisory Council.
PRESENTED BY BARRETT ART CENTER/DCAA
OPENING SEPTEMBER 26 THRU OCTOBER 21, 2015
Please Touch! Sculpture Exhibition at the Monmouth Museum is a Main Gallery juried exhibition featuring wall and free standing sculpture that can be touched by visitors. This exhibition is intended to help visually-impaired people overcome the barrier they experience at most museums by allowing everyone to experience art by touching. Sighted people will also learn to experience art without relying on their eyesight in addition to a visual artistic experience.
PLEASE CLICK THE TITLE LINK TO VISIT MONMOUTHMUSEUM.ORG
I am excited to have two of my mixed media mosaic sculptures and one of my ceramic mixed media sculptures chosen for the upcoming Monmouth Museum's Please Touch! Sculpture Exhibition opening on June 28, thru September 6, 2015.
My artwork centers on the visceral nature of gathering, wrapping, layering, breaking, forming and hand-piecing many elements to form a cohesive whole. Hand-crafting and hand-piecing is essential to building my mosaic and mixed media sculptures. Museum goers will have the opportunity to connect with my works through the powerful sense of touch. I find the concept compelling. This wonderfully progressive and inclusive Please Touch! exhibition will enable the visually impaired and the sighted to experience aspects of the kinetic and meditative energy that is imbued into my work. I am honored to have my sculptures chosen for such a wonderfully special exhibition that will allow the museum visitors to connect with me, my artworks and my intentions on such an intimate level. This is my first exhibition with Monmouth Museum. I can't wait to visit. I look forward to what I will learn from this interactive and transcendent creative experience. Gratitude.
What a day this was! 7 hour drive to Pittsburgh for the closing weekend of the Women of Visions, Inc. "Storytellers Truth be Told!" exhibition at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Great show. So happy to have been a part of a beautiful exhibition put on by an historic African American guild of women artists. Truly special. Thank you, Laverne & Christine for an unforgettable experience!
Building landscapes with the clay. Kinetic connection. The power flows through me into an eruption of the surface. In those moments I leave my mark. Like climbing the mountain of consciousness: I am here.
Honored to have my ceramic mixed media sculpture "The Offering" featured as one of the selected works for the Women of Visions "Storytellers:Truth be Told!" exhibition at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
"Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made and said to fit them" (Hurston, 1990, p. 31).
Creativity requires comfortability within chaos. Breathe.
"The Offering" ceramic mixed media sculpture by Shelita Birchett Benash, 2014.
Women of Vision "Storytellers: Truth be Told!"
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
Exhibition Dates: November 21-February 1, 2015
Samuel Black is President, of the Association of African American Museums and Director of African-American Programs, Senator John Heinz History Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate. He has curated several award-winning exhibitions including from “Slavery to Freedom” for which he received a grant from the Department of Education. He is also authored “Soul Soldiers celebrating African Americans in the Vietnam era and organized its corre- sponding exhibition which traveled to cities across the United States. Mr. Black continues to curate, edit and co-author prestigious works on African-American culture
Ann Tanksley, an internationally acclaimed artist and educator, Pittsburgh native, Carnegie Institute (now Carnegie Mellon) graduate and New York resident, Ms. Tanksley sees herself as a “social commentator” who retells stories such as her now iconic visual interpretations of prose by author, Zora Neal Hurston. Ms. Tanksley has received numerous commissions throughout her illustrious career. Among her corporate clients are Coors National, Pepsi Cola, and Absolut Vodka. Influential collectors of her work include: Oprah Winfrey, Johnson Publishing Company, and Harvard University.