“I still look at and learn from the art of the past, and enjoy making interpretations of works which I admire.” Henry Moore
Infanta, Floating Balance, Point in Time, and Visionary are monoprints with Chine collé from Suzanne Benton's Paintings in Proust series. This grouping also includes the dry-point etching with Chine collé. Infanta (edition of 10). The monoprints (unique prints) employ the collage technique, chine collé (glued paper). Collé papers are pre-inked and hand-painted. Dimensional printing plates emboss texture onto the prints. The plates are inked individually for each solo print. The images and collé papers are then laid onto the plate and adhere to the printmaking paper as the plate and paper run through the etching press.
Other monoprint series have been devoted to Indian and Turkish miniature painting, South Asian Folk Art, Korean Lore and Legend, Hebrew illuminated manuscripts, Medieval manuscript, The Renaissance, Russian Icons, Greek mythology, 19th Century Women Writers, Educators, and Feminist activiists, Africa and Afro-American image making and Native American art forms.
Marcel Proust’s narration in Remembrance of Things Past merges past and present. By recasting images from the artworks he’s referenced throughout his novel into my own artworks, Benton places The Past in a contemporary framework that enlivens both spheres. The focus she brings to her art has commonalities with Proust’s as she too weaves streams of consciousness and veins of symbolism into her work.
Proust’s chosen paintings (over 200) broadened his expressive voice. Re-examining his choices and carrying them into her art has been an invigorating process strengthening her own creative power. Perhaps the artworks she's done as a result will inspire others to make their own journeys through Proust’s eyes. No one, to her knowledge has done an interpretation by way of new and original art of artworks chosen by Proust in his lengthy novel. By exploring this new territory she provides a map that others may follow.
Proust’s novel recreates the huge social panorama of France before and during World War I. His chosen artworks represent the cannon of his time, moving backwards to Giotto, onward through the Renaissance, and lastly to Manet, Turner, and Whistler and Monet. Proust lived on the cusp of revolutionary art movements that transformed artistic thought and consciousness into our present.
In July, 2013 Benton spent a month in Paris, visiting the Louvre and the Museé d’Orsay and studying paintings that she chose from his broad selection. Paris and the many great museums she visited in her search heightened her focus and passion for this venture. From late October to mid-December,
she traveled to Italy, to Rome and then Assisi as a resident artist at Arte Studio Ginestrelle where she focused on the Giotto frescos as the inspiration for paintings created at the residency.
In 2014, as she continued this project, her research brought her to view chosen paintings in the series in the National Gallery, London; the Castle Museum, Prague, and the Gemalde Galerie, Berlin.
By weaving Proust’s vision into her art, she hopes she's paved the way for others to further explore their awareness of this great novelist’s sagacity in the realm of art, and to enjoy the artworks she's created in the footsteps of this brilliant and dazzling author.
Suzanne Benton is a native New Yorker who has shared her many-faceted art for over 50 years and in 31 countries. Exhibiting widely (150+ solo shows and representation in museums, and private collections worldwide), she’s a highly recognized metal mask maker and mask performance artist, printmaker, painter, lecturer, and workshop leader.
A trans-culturalist and feminist pioneer based in the States, her venues have stretched from New York City to villages in remote parts of Africa, India, and Nepal, and to philosophy and education portals from Calcutta to Cambridge.
A former Fulbright Scholar (India), and recipient of many grants and artist residencies including many hostings by the cultural arm US Embassies, her unique artwork has carried her worldwide since 1976, sharing her work in Bali, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Hong Kong, Denmark, Egypt, England, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Korea, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Yugoslavia. Author of The Art of Welded Sculpture and numerous articles, she is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, and Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975, Edited by Barbara Love, 2006.