The sharp angles and dancing, riotously colored blocks in Trudy Benson’s paintings suggest that her most significant reference is the grid itself. “To me, abstraction means that the material and process are essential to the schematics of the painting,” she said. “I am illustrating sets of relationships between colors, mark-making, and surface.”
As viewers notice the interactions between shape, color, and line, they are led to assess the logic that makes the painting’s structure cohere. In Circling Back (2019), for example, a series of lines cut through squares filled with smaller squares. Looking at one of Benson’s canvases is like playing an optical game, searching for small moments and brushstrokes for the eye to latch onto and analyze.
To make these works, Benson employs a multi-step process that results in the appearance of varied textures and depths. She applies and layers paint via spraying, brushing, and squeezing directly from the tube. Benson occasionally employs a “hard-edge painting technique,” lightly masking certain sections with tape so that her paint bleeds under the tape edge. The results are jazzy and joyous.