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Vielmetter Los Angeles
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Sadie Benning at Vielmetter Los Angeles


Sadie Benning’s paintings begin in a space that many have become all too familiar with this year: their iPhone. Each painting, some of which span up to six feet in the gallery, begins as an iPhone drawing within the limited conditions of pressing a finger to screen. The abstract doodles are then transferred to large sheets of plywood where the artist cuts each piece out before applying layers of aquaresin and paints, creating a pillow-like dimensional surface around each element. The pieces then fit together like a grand jigsaw puzzle.

This transfer of digital to physical (and large scale physical at that) isn’t always seamless — small gaps peer through the embedded pieces — which may be Benning’s point. Most of the works were made in 2019, before any notion of the pandemic infiltrated our daily lives. Yet, looking at these large scale works that encompass one’s field of vision, the process of being deconstructed, ripped apart, and then stitched back together again feels familiar. The show, titled “This is Real” might provide a reminder that the “normal” we came from certainly won’t be the one we return to, and perhaps we will arrive on the other side of this more colorful and dimensional than we were before.

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Image courtesy of Sadie Benning and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Photo by Chris Austin.