Sadie Benning (b. 1973, Madison), presents a series of twelve new paintings derived from portions of zoomed-in photographs that Benning took while looking carefully at work by artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Sigmar Polke, Lee Krasner, Paul Gauguin, and David Wojnarowicz.
Benning’s process of producing these paintings went through many stages of translation—going from a digital image to a transparency to an outline drawn by hand on wood, to the final, sculptural result, which was cut out with a jigsaw, coated with aqua resin, painted and fit back together. Benning has cited the trippy experience of looking in the mirror too long as an influence on this work: “The longer you look at your face the more alien you become. And when you look at a painting for a while, it’s the same. You start to see other things. The surface changes. Everything is subtly morphing.”
“When you are far away from a painting, you see the picture,” Benning has recounted. “Up close you see the marks more than the picture itself—and the marks retain the energy of the person who made them, you feel their hand. It’s very intimate, leaning in to see, even a bit forbidden—in museums, you’re often yelled at for getting too close to a painting.”