"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Thursday, May 06, 2010

philomene bennett

PB10 22" x 7"

Eddie and I have made a point over the years of collecting pieces by local artists. For a long time now, the centerpiece of our living room has been a gorgeous painting by Philomene Bennett. It’s a large canvas that we fell head over heels for in a show at the (now defunct) Jayne Gallery. The painting was made at Philomene’s studio in Cerillos, New Mexico. It’s a slightly skewed still life of flowers, fruits and vegetables on a crazy colored tablecloth with the serene blue sky and mountains of the southwest coming in through a window in the background. We love it.

I was thrilled when Philomene agreed to participate in the doll project. Not only is she a fabulous artist, she’s also kind of considered to be the grand dame of the Kansas City art scene. She and her husband (see May 3rd blog post) Lou Marak were co-founders of the (still thriving) Kansas City Artist Coalition in 1976.

Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Philomene received a BFA from the University of Nebraska. Her paintings, ceramics and prints have been included in over 100 solo and group exhibitions throughout the US since she graduated in 1956. She was invited to show her work in the inaugural exhibition at the National Museum of Women in Arts in Washington, DC.

Philomene has done countless commissions. She is a lecturer and keynote speaker. Her work is in many well-known collections throughout the country. She’s been nominated three times for the “National Artists Award.” And at age 75, she shows no signs of slowing down.

Her lovely work speaks for itself. Check it out on her website.

She calls this doll more a “fetish” than anything else. My photo doesn’t really do it justice… it is laced with all sorts of surprising and rich details. Just like her paintings.

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