Maria José Benvenuto

In late 2018, Chilean Artist, Maria Jose Benvenuto, swapped her home city of Santiago, situated in a valley surrounded by mountain ranges, for the scrubby bush lands and oceanic horizons of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. For an artist whose practice had, up until that point, been informed by the imposing mountain peaks that looked down on her previous home, Benvenuto was struck by the endless vistas of Sydney’s landscape.

Working from the mind, using memories to shape her composition, Benvenuto connects with her audience through visual representation; a soft curve becoming a wave, or gestural mark-making turning into long grass dancing in the wind. The colours reflect Benvenuto’s studio and home on North Head, Sydney — a place with overwhelming vistas and indigenous plant life. Returning to black, orange, blue, green, red, yellow — these are the colours of the everyday. The rich landscape or yellows of the sun, ever-present in Sydney, or deep and moody blues from the ocean that is a daily awe-reminder.

Her works narrate an exploration of textile, material and technique, probing the viewer to move closer to the works, at times leaving the linen raw inviting an organic aesthetic. Geometric shapes, sharp lines, or paint gestures activate the viewer’s eye in an array of multi-colour.

As Benvenuto seeks out her connections, she invites her bodily response working across the canvas in a Pollock-esque manner. She engages in an almost physical dance. With a palette of acrylics, ink, watercolour on linen or cotton, the artist works in large scale between the floor and the wall. Using her body to flick and work the paint she builds depth in drips and layers.


Written by Emma-Kate Wilson

Maria José Benvenuto

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