Maria Jose Benvenuto’s 2022 solo show ‘Dialogues of Movement’ brings together her gestural, spontaneous artworks inspired by the concepts of movement in life. The wind blows; everything in the universe moving in sync with one another. Dancing across the surface, the brushstrokes are alive. Tension builds throughout the engagement of each ‘moment’.

The works on linen offer an organic feel as the unfinished material provides a backdrop to the soft curves that bounce around. Captured in bright colours, pink, blue, green, yellow, orange with vivid black and white, Benvenuto captures an alive dialogue between colours to reflect interactions present in nature.

Benvenuto is inspired by the environment around her, her studio located on Manly’s North Head — the landscape raw and full of life seeps into the paintings. The energy is contiguous; the viewer invites to bask in the joy found within the irregular shapes and overlapping layers.

These motifs of organic forms continue onto the works on paper, though the juxtaposition between the colours and white background amplifies the balance of negative space. The brushstrokes are defined, revealing the energy of the hand that makes them.

In a new venture, Benvenuto explores lines, weaving and intersecting across the canvas. Iridescence tones in green, blue, yellow, and white shimmer across dark backgrounds evoking the sense of a moon and starlit midnight sky.

The dialogue between the paintings offers a sense of repetition, similar to those in nature. A familiar petal repeated in diverse colours across the multiplicity of flowers found over North Head, or the sunrises peaking over the horizon — different tones and patterns every day yet crafted from the same brush.

Benvenuto reminds us of the interconnectedness and depth found within the environment, ecosystems, and universe. But they also return the viewer to a simplicity found in the quiet, joyous moments. A vivid cue that life continues.

Emma-Kate Wilson

Maria Jose Benvenuto | Dialogues of Movement

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