I came across Bennett's work in undergrad and liked it, then saw some pieces in person at the Museum of Art and Design in grad school and just loved it. There's so much layering and subtlety that gets lost in photographs, along with the luminosity of enamel. Bennett pioneered the use of china paints and some other traditional ceramics materials for enameling and his pieces exhibit this lovely drawing/painterly quality. I think his work is a great example of how enameling can be more of a painting technique, as opposed to a metals technique. I love his simple organic shapes with their elaborate, luscious surfaces. The vibrancy of the colors combined with the richness of gold make Bennett's work look precious and opulent while maintaining a uniqueness.
Bennett is interested in how nature is portrayed in art as an explanation of beauty. * I identify with his reasons for making jewelry as opposed to some other object. He states:
“I’ve worked in a number of formats and mediums. I still do a lot of drawing and painting, but jewelry’s hybrid life is quite appealing to me; it’s both intimate and public, it has a human scale but a social spectrum, it is raw in one culture and cooked in another, it is vain and often modest. And then there is the making itself – a very satisfying and still mystifying act to me.”**
I love this idea of "human scale, social spectrum". I've long cited jewelry's "intimacy of scale" as one of my reasons for working in this format. And also the process. I can't help but love the process and I appreciate when other artists express pleasure in their making practice.
I've experimented with china paints in my own work, not quite achieving the level of sophistication that Bennett does. Maybe someday. It's a goal I certainly intend on working towards.
Happy Monday. Thanks for Reading.