In a two-part show for Howard House in Seattle, Gretchen Bennett presents her own work in “Hello,” located in the front of the gallery, as well as curating “Supernature,” located in the center gallery. Bennett is best known for her interest in urban iconography and her downloadable and printable sticker series. For “Hello,” she chooses to re-examine through drawings the widespread imagery of the ill-fated lead singer of Nirvana, universal pop icon Kurt Cobain. Methodically and meticulously penciling line-by-line single video frames of her subject collected from YouTube, the artist presents colorful and luminous drawings of the drug-addled musician. By stopping motion and revealing the painstaking precision of her own hand, Bennett refreshes our view of the ubiquitous iconic image, giving us a more personal look at the star without becoming sentimental.
In the center gallery of Howard House is “Supernature”, curated by Bennett, which examines the notion of the perfect landscape in the works of Saul Chernick, Andrew Guenther, Matthew Day Jackson, Alexander Kantarovsky, Robert de Saint Phalle, Suzanne Walters, and Aaron Williams. Instead of presenting a romantic and idealistic view of the natural world, the artists assert the idea that the perfect landscape can be found in artificial or abandoned settings. The show is a collection of assembled topography in the form of paintings and installations which act as landmarks or “places” for the viewer to examine. In contemporary society, we become increasingly detached from the experience of authenticity or purity in the natural world. This mediated view of our world is not Nature, but Supernature, and can offer us a new kind of authenticity.
Gretchen Bennett received her M.F.A. from Rutgers in 2001 and has exhibited widely on both coasts. She has had a solo show at Amo Gallery in Washington, and has exhibited at PS122 Gallery in New York City.