Jamie Bennett | Lumina
May 21 – June 19, 2016

‘Painting and sculpture, nature and architecture, western motifs and eastern, all merge in Jamie Bennett’s glorious enamel jewelry. At a summit in his 40-year career, Bennett’s output grows consistently more proficient and refined. Some of his latest works read like bas relief, as enigmatic pictorial panels are laid over linear silver latticework that engenders powerfully charged spaces. One may perceive Klimt, Munch, Johns, aboriginal dream paintings, or the cosmos; the reverse of each piece is as luscious as the front.’     Toni Greenbaum, Art Historian

Jamie Bennett’s most recent body of work, Lumina, examines the nature of mark making and how the mark is experienced—by maker and viewer, both physically and intellectually. Sensuous materiality has long been the foundation of Bennett’s practice, its latest evolution embracing intuitive making as method and philosophy. Gestural and exacting, the mark lands both by chance and with precision. The mark is given freedom to drift as the artist has allowed himself freedom to drift within a single piece from one visual influence to another. As marks are layered over one another, so does the inspiration behind each mark, building a work that disrupts any one singular reading. As Bennett’s process has evolved, it has expanded into an inventive, even playful direction. The application of enamel shifts and changes on a single element, from brush to pen, to sponge to paper, using oil and water, spray and sifting, wet and dry—allowing the artist to engage the material rather than master it.

‘Bennett’s signature matte surfaces have a depth and textural richness that challenges ones expectations of enamel. His abstract, vegetal imagery evokes botanical prints and Persian miniatures yet is purposely detached from any direct references, thereby creating a hermetic, poetic world of color and pattern.’    John Stuart Gordon, Associate Curator, Yale University Art Gallery

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 Sublime: The Enamels of Jamie Bennett travelled throughout the US from 2007 to 2010. 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

Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston
Museum of Arts and Design, NY
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, NY
University Museum Georgia, Athens, GA
Kunstsmuseum of Art, Oslo, Norway
Kusntsmuseum of Art, Trondheim, Norway
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Los Angeles County Museum, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC
Mizuno Collection, Tokyo, Japan
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Western Australia, Perth
Musee des Arts Decoratifs, France
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
Racine Museum of Art, Racine, WI
Rohss Museum of Art, Sweden
Royal College of Art, London, England
Yale Museum of Art, Yale University, CT
Victoria and Albert Museum, England