October 12 – December 31, 2019

Periphery – In Aerem

Sienna Patti Contemporary is proud to present our sixth solo exhibition with artist Jamie Bennett. Historian and former curator at Museum of Art and Design in New York City, Ursula Ilse-Neuman, refers to Bennett as “one of the most innovative and accomplished enamelists of our time”. Yale’s expert in American Decorative Arts, John Stuart Gordon writes, “Bennett’s enamels are allegories presented in a lyrical mode, containing hidden narratives of history, of science, of mark making, and of their own process of creation.” These statements continue to ring true in Bennett’s current exhibition Periphery – In Aerem.

Always pushing the limits of his medium, Periphery – In Aerem sees Bennett using fine silver and gold as the ground for enamel, a transition from copper, his primary working surface for over forty years. This shift allows the coolness of silver and the warmth of the gold to be present in the finished works and highlights these precious materials in the overall compositions. Periphery – In Aerem is an extension of Bennett’s long-held interest in the traditions and history of the ornamental and decorative arts. Like silk fabric awaiting the embellishment of a brocade, Bennett’s new series underscores his painterly enamels with expectant gold and silver surfaces. As such, the finished pieces reflect and refract, causing the chromatic markings to float over textured surface.

The influence of Ukiyo (“floating world”), the vivid and richly patterned genre of Japanese painting and woodblock prints of the Edo period, gives this series its signature play between pattern, texture, and hue. Often depicting scenes from the rich “floating world” of cosmopolitan Edo-period subjects (kabuki theater, sumo wrestling, geisha, landscapes, erotica), it is easy to see the relationship between Ukiyo and Bennett’s oeuvre. The work as a whole, whether based in silver, gold, or copper, hinges rich color and spatial dimension in transcendent unison. The Patters, marks, and images in Periphery In Aerem float together in spatial dimensions. These brooches, neckpieces, and other forms of jewelry are gestures of ornament. Doubling the way Bennett’s colorful objects bring their precious grounds to the forefront.

Jamie Bennett is Professor Emeritus of the State University of New York at New Paltz Metal/Jewelry Program, which he directed from 1986 to 2014. Recognized in 2016 with the James Renwick Alliance’s Outstanding Educator Award, Bennett is a three-time recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship, and has been awarded three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships as well as the Aileen Osborn Webb Award for Fellow of the American Crafts Council. Bennett’s retrospective exhibition Edge of the SublimeThe Enamels of Jamie Bennett travelled throughout the US from 2007 to 2010, supported by grants from the Windgate Foundation and the Rotasa Foundation. His work is in the permanent collection of over twenty-five museums internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, and the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. One of the pre-eminent enamellists in the world, Jamie’s work is known for its innovative use of color and deep engagement of material and process. His participation in many pioneering exhibitions such as American Masters at the Victoria and Albert Museum; Jewellery Moves at the National Museum of Scotland; New Times, New Thinking Jewellery in Europe and America at the National Museum of Whales underscore his influence and impact in contemporary jewelry.

Selected Public Collections
Arkansas Decorative Arts Museum, Little Rock, AR
Arrowmont Center for Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN
Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA
Museum of Arts and Design, NYC, NY
American Museum of Art, Renwick Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz,
NY Fidelity Insurance Collection, Boston, MA
University Museum Georgia, Athens, GA
Kunstsmuseum of Art, Oslo, NORWAY
Kusntsmuseum of Art, Trondheim, NORWAY
Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, NY
Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
Mizuno Collection, Tokyo, JAPAN
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Western Australia, Perth, AUSTRALIA
Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, FRANCE
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Racine Museum of Art, Racine, WI
Rohss Museum of Art, Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Royal College of Art, London, ENGLAND
Yale Museum of Art, Yale University, CT
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, ENGLAND