Our ability to perceive our location in space is not merely mechanistic. We accumulate mental representations of the external world to form an intimate topography; integral landscapes. These 'cognitive maps' help us navigate both spatial and existential realms. In the early 2000s, the discovery of pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus—called "place cells"—were shown to activate in relation to spatial positioning and memory. Blueprints of neural architecture trace the intersection between identity, place, and history.
Bendiner’s large-scale abstractions delve into the relationship between space, memory and self. Their compositions are personal - each based on a distinct vicinity familiar to the artist. Domestic interiors, waiting-room lobbies, city circuits, subterranean basements and car cabins are invoked from personal memories or reference imagery, only to be abstracted beyond legibility. Bendiner leverages material and formal decisions rather than conventional representations to depict these spaces. They are not concerned with looking like a photograph, but feeling like a thought; transmuting visual echoes of mental imaging into tangible form. Without preliminary sketches, Bendiner distills the physical realm into its most basic formal properties: shape, color, and line. Walls and partitions, once symbols of insulation and separation, dissolve into porous brush strokes; saturated fields of color permeate through the membrane of oil-stick and acrylic. The use of house paint, a material rooted in everyday labor, subverts traditional delineations between artistic and domestic labor, fine art and interior design, craft and commodity.
Discontinuity between self and environment can compromise spatial awareness, leading to disorientation. This phenomena is often induced in transitional spaces, such as airports, where conventional anchors of identity become untethered. Bendiner's paintings resonate with such experiences, through the breaking down of spatial boundaries and warping of perspective. The edges become blurry; memories haze. Vertiginous and fleeting, the compositions trace situational awareness and capture our paradoxical relationship to containment. which we both fear and crave.
Claire Bendiner is an artist currently working in New York. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, they received their B.F.A from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2017 and their M.F.A from Hunter College in 2022.
Claire Bendiner: Deep Creep
9 Sep 2023 – 21 Oct 2023
Someday gallery NYC
120 Walker Street #3R
New York NY 10013