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Carol Bennett
Fish Study, painting, Reverse painting on glass gold leaf, oil, cobalt, water

2009

$1,500

About

Fish Study by Hawaii artist Carol Bennett is a reverse painting on glass artwork. It is Oil, Varnish, Gold Leaf and powdered Cobalt. It is 9x12. Carol Bennett's artwork is a meditative journey through both the water and through life. She is one of the few artists to truly capture what it's like to be in and moving and swimming through the water. For Carol, the act of swimming underwater is similar to the process of painting. Her approach results in multi-layered surfaces that are intricate and textured and unexpected. She is constantly experimenting with her pieces: adding, subtracting, sanding. When she is not painting Swimmers, she is capturing the fish surrounding her. She has created over 100 large public and corporate commissions internationally, and is in private collections around the world. Carol Bennett was recently currently featured in two exhibits at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Networking and Water: Carol Bennett featuring female swimmers, as well as marine nets floating or submerged in water. Bennett was also part of the group exhibit Making Waves highlighting the important role of women artists in the museum’s contemporary collection. In this show, the works by international and Hawaii-based artists all have a relationship to water. Featured artists also included: April Gornik, Agnes Martin, Judy Pfaff, Kiki Smith and Pat Steir! Elisa Contemporary Art has been representing her art since 2008.

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About the Artist

Carol Bennett

Splitting her time between Hawaii and California, Carol Bennett (b. 1954) has mastered the art of capturing movement in her enigmatic paintings.

While Bennett has garnered praise for the meditative sensibility that characterizes her paintings as well as a bold use of bright colors, some of her works are more famous than others. In fact, her “Women in Water” series is perhaps her most well-known collection. As its name implies, the series features women swimming. They’re captured from an underwater perspective, and their faces are either out of frame entirely or obscured by the sun-dappled surface of the water, which serves as a showcase for Bennett’s portrayal of the qualities of sunlight. The upper half of each painting is flecked with the blues and greens of the ocean as well as whatever color the subject’s bathing suit happens to be.

The series originated with Bennett sketching swimmers at an athletic club’s pool in Los Angeles, but as her process evolved, her husband, Wayne Zebzda, began to film the artist on her daily swim on Kauai. The resultant images inform her work, but she doesn’t consider these works to be depictions of her in particular.

“I swim seven days a week, and while I don’t consider them self-portraits, I am the swimmer in the paintings,” Bennett has said.

Given her constant proximity to the ocean, it’s no surprise that Bennett is inspired by water’s glassy properties, citing its presence as both “a mirror and then a window.” Her radiant paintings, whether she’s working with oil and shellac on paper or wood panels, allow her to explore sunlight in such a rich and provocative way that it’s as if she endeavors to suspend rays of light above the water’s surface, making them seem as tangible and physical as the swimmers themselves.

Aside from her works that hang on the walls of galleries and museums around the world, Bennett has also painted murals and even a 48-foot photovoltaic solar canopy for the Hawaii State Art Museum Sculpture Garden.

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