Maria José Benvenuto

Growing up in the mountains of Santiago, Chile, abstract artist María Jose Benvenuto moved to Australia in 2018. Migrating from the crowded streets and busy atmosphere to the quiet and calming aspects of the Northern Beaches in Sydney, led to a reconnection with nature in an entirely new way.

Using gestural brushstrokes or stains across the medium, Benvenuto focuses on line and detail to build a narration of the life around her. She draws back to significant events, the people she’s met, or the changing landscape. Fundamentally, the artist surprises herself every day, shocking herself with what’s not familiar. From the changing seasons to the sweeping ocean — she is ever surrounded by inspiration, in awe of its beauty.

Benvenuto found her calling within abstract works, focusing on what cannot be represented. In her artworks, the artist wants to explore and create new imagery to navigate the current world. 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.

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.

The colours reflect Benvenuto’s studio and home on North Head, Sydney — a place with overwhelming vistas and indigenous plant life. The tones and shades are ever-changing, in both nature and within the artist’s oeuvre. Returning to black, orange, blue, green, red, yellow — they 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.

As Benvenuto seeks out her connections, she invites her bodily response working across the canvas in a Pollock-esque manner. She engages an almost physical dance — an extension from the painter’s hand, built through action. 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 or refocus on building depth in drips and layers; they are in motion together.

As a practising Catholic, Benvenuto works reveal a deeper connection to faith and dedication to her craft. As part of her artistic routine, she reminds herself of her blessings and offers the works to her beliefs of giving back. This feeds from her new landscape and vibrant culture that has existed for thousands of years— her works help pay the rent to the First Nation peoples and heritage that came before us and continues to live today.

Benvenuto’s final image is focused on colour relations, as the environment instigates the patterns. Within her abstract oeuvre, there are in-depth investigations between the links of nature — from the sandstone rocks to the crushing South Pacific Ocean. Yet, the artist leaves her work open to personal interpretation as a storyteller that lets you become the author.

Written by Emma-Kate Wilson

Growing up in the mountains of Santiago, Chile, abstract artist María Jose Benvenuto moved to Australia in 2018. Migrating from the crowded streets and busy atmosphere to the quiet and calming aspects of the Northern Beaches in Sydney, led to a reconnection with nature in an entirely new way.

Using gestural brushstrokes or stains across the medium, Benvenuto focuses on line and detail to build a narration of the life around her. She draws back to significant events, the people she’s met, or the changing landscape. Fundamentally, the artist surprises herself every day, shocking herself with what’s not familiar. From the changing seasons to the sweeping ocean — she is ever surrounded by inspiration, in awe of its beauty.

Benvenuto found her calling within abstract works, focusing on what cannot be represented. In her artworks, the artist wants to explore and create new imagery to navigate the current world. 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.

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.

The colours reflect Benvenuto’s studio and home on North Head, Sydney — a place with overwhelming vistas and indigenous plant life. The tones and shades are ever-changing, in both nature and within the artist’s oeuvre. Returning to black, orange, blue, green, red, yellow — they 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.

As Benvenuto seeks out her connections, she invites her bodily response working across the canvas in a Pollock-esque manner. She engages an almost physical dance — an extension from the painter’s hand, built through action. 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 or refocus on building depth in drips and layers; they are in motion together.

As a practising Catholic, Benvenuto works reveal a deeper connection to faith and dedication to her craft. As part of her artistic routine, she reminds herself of her blessings and offers the works to her beliefs of giving back. This feeds from her new landscape and vibrant culture that has existed for thousands of years— her works help pay the rent to the First Nation peoples and heritage that came before us and continues to live today.

Benvenuto’s final image is focused on colour relations, as the environment instigates the patterns. Within her abstract oeuvre, there are in-depth investigations between the links of nature — from the sandstone rocks to the crushing South Pacific Ocean. Yet, the artist leaves her work open to personal interpretation as a storyteller that lets you become the author.

Written by Emma-Kate Wilson

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