P A M E L A B E N H A M
T h e S m a l l e r P i c t u r e
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Benham has used what might have been a setback for another artist to take her painting to a new level. In her new exhibit at Gallery 113, titled The Smaller Picture she shows the best of over 100 smaller paintings she made since her husband’s open-heart valve surgery. She felt she had a lot to express. Her large abstracts can take months to complete, so she went small.
“Small in size, these are not small paintings” Jane Deering of the Jane Deering Gallery, Santa Barbara
The power is still there! In Untitled SBS 78 the dominant feeling of the dark shape being trapped in an overwhelming situation that will not quickly change is yet nuanced with hope. In Untitled SBS 84 an upward thrust is blocked but the beauty of the wet into wet lifts the work from angst to ecstasy.
This exhibit may be of special interest to all who are interested in the technology of painting. Benham, schooled at Cooper Union, the Art Students’ League and Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, has a lifetime of experience with oils and how to keep them luminous and alive. She brings this experience and sensibility to these works done with acrylic paint. Of special note are the glowing transparency of her glazes and the lush color subtleties of wet into wet. These are, of course, the successes, but one of the benefits of working small, was Benham’s ability to make mistakes more rapidly and learn from them.
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” Neil Gaiman
Benham studied painting in New York City at the Art Students’ League under a Ford Foundation Scholarship, and graduated from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art with a BFA. She then studied in Paris for two years at the Ecolé des Beaux-Arts with Pierre Carron. Other influential teachers were Robert Beverly Hale, Wolf Kahn, Dory Ashton, Paul Resika, Leland Bell and Stephen Posen.
Recipient of an Adolph Gottlieb Grant, Benham was also awarded artist-in-residencies at Skowhegan School in Maine, Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Parson’s Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic, and Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.
She has exhibited internationally in museums and galleries including the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City, the Musée d’Art Moderne and the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris. She has had over twenty solo exhibitions in galleries in New York including the Miller, Susan Schreiber and Jayne Baum Gallery. Benham has now established her painting studio, Studio 93, here in Santa Barbara.
G A L L E R Y 1 1 3
1114 State Street #8 in La Arcada Court
Santa Barbara CA 93101 805 965-6611