A public garden & cultural center

Susan Benarcik

Prickly, Tender and Steamy: Artists in the Hothouse 
Glyndor Gallery | April 8–May 18, 2014 

Pictured Above: Structure, 2013, metallic print, 12” x 9” x 1 ½.” Courtesy of the artist. 

Susan Benarcik creates installations, sculptures and photographs inspired by gardens, often using natural materials. The series of photographs Benarcik took in Wave Hill’s Conservatory focuses on the structure, mechanisms and surfaces of the space. Rather than depicting the exotic species or lush flora, she preferred to photograph “the less show-stopping greenhouse attributes.”

I grew up amidst the greenhouses on my grandparents’ farm. They grew cut flowers and seasonal plants to sell at the farmers’ market. I remember as a kid, my Grandmom would bathe me and then send me to sit in the greenhouses until my hair was dry. Today, I gravitate to any greenhouse, anywhere, anytime. They make me feel safe and comfortable, and they smell good, like condensation and soil.

I would start my cold January residency days in the greenhouse, watching and documenting the effects of the changes in light and temperature, the waxing and waning of blossoms, the textures and shadows, the coloration of the mosses growing on the walls and the condensation patterns on the glass. My designs and sculpture are hugely inspired by natural patterns. The observations made at Wave Hill informed my work, perhaps not in that instant but farther down the road. There was not a specific plant, but it was more about the place and the internal ticking of the place. It was the formations of moss or lichen growing on the wall, or the textures of the aerial roots or tendrils reaching out to water, air, or sun, and the non-replicable colors of succulent blossoms that intrigued me the most.

—Susan Benarcik

Benarcik’s work has been exhibited widely in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and can be found in public and private collections, including the Franklin Furnace Archive at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, NY; and the Oregon Art Institute, Portland, OR. She has received several grants and awards, including the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. She earned a BFA from Rosemont College, Rosemont, PA, and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Blue Sky, 2013, metallic print, 9” x 12” x 1 ½.” Courtesy of the artist.

Softening Hard Edges, 2013, metallic print, 12” x 9” x 1 ½.” Courtesy of the artist.

Hothouse Serpent, 2013, metallic print, 9” x 12” x 1 ½.” Courtesy of the artist.

Condensation, 2013, metallic print, 12” x 9” x 1 ½.” Courtesy of the artist.

White Coat, 2013, metallic print, 9” x 12” x 1 ½.” Courtesy of the artist.

Winter Workspace 2010
Glyndor Gallery | January 2 – March 21, 2010

Click here for more information about the artist.

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. 
 

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