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.