Location: Galleri Urbane
Galleri Urbane is pleased to announce Off Screen, an exhibition of artworks by Arden Bendler Browning made following a residency in Newfoundland, Canada.
The titles of Bendler Browning’s paintings tether them to a place and time or atmosphere—“East Coast Trail Trees,” “Lost Lake,” or “Imagined Ecuadorian road trip via quarantine virtual travel through clicks.” They all begin with drawings, perhaps sketched on a hike or on lap-size paper in a car, compositions made within a space (sometimes virtual) or moving through it. Already, space and movement, temporality and tactility collide and nest. All have emotional as well as topographical valences.
Camouflage underlies circular disc paintings that embed these sketches as collage. They are “conducive to an experience,” Bendler Browning says, a “portal into a space rather than a framed window”—a subtle difference that points to a desire for immersion. Kaleidoscopic, the surfaces offer a scrim of marks in intense, vibrant hues: mark-making remains primordial while layering opens up possibilities of perception. Abstract scatterings of strokes map out constellations, multilayered, polyvalent, multifaceted. In turn, they become a coherent biome or cosmos.
While for the paintings, Bendler Browning works with gouache and treeless, synthetic Yupo paper, the artist deploys virtual reality to push her ideas further. Each of 10 scenes in her virtual-reality composition embeds a drawing, yoking the dimensionalities of sculpture and drawing. “My hope is that it opens up this map through a space,” the artist says, providing oneiric, dreamlike worlds to “move through” without physically moving, thus coaxing new relationships to fictional environments in an utterly current dialectic: “I love the idea of opening it up to people so they can enter the space of the painting.”
In her practice, Bendler Browning finds herself “trying to capture what’s been lost, what’s currently changing, what might be coming.” Her works thus plumb the relationship—tenuous and yet reciprocal—between materiality and mapping. By working against the “impossibility” of containing or capturing, they form portals of escape, inviting materiality to transcend its limits. Ultimately, they create their own zeitgeist. Inspired by artists as diverse as Julie Mehretu, Katharina Grosse, Sarah Sze, and Joan Mitchell, Bendler Browning uses her imaginary worlds to propel us into the possibility of a space that never ends—where we can get lost and find our way out again.
Philadelphia based artist Arden Bendler Browning creates large paintings, small works on paper, virtual reality (VR) environments, and public art. Her work explores movement, questions the desire for travel, the effect of digital imagery on perception and memory, and finding wonder and escape through immersive spaces. Her work hovers between landscape and abstraction. Bendler Browning’s works are included in several public collections including the West Collection, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Microsoft Art Collection, Dream Hotel Nashville, Toyota, and numerous private and corporate collections. Her work is represented by Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia, Galleri Urbane in Dallas, and Tinney Contemporary in Nashville. Press includes The Washington Post, Hyperallergic, New American Paintings, Bmore Art, The Studio Visit, Nashville Scene, I Like Your Work podcast, D Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Drawing Magazine, and more. Selected group exhibitions include American University Museum at Katzen Arts Center, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Penn State University, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Michener Art Museum, Swarthmore College, University of the Arts, West Chester University, Delaware Contemporary, and more. Public works include "Nonstop" (2017), a commissioned Percent for Art project for the City of Philadelphia at the Philadelphia International Airport, and "Elastic Geography" (2021), a Mural Arts Philadelphia project. She recently completed artist residencies at Interlude Artist Residency in Livingston, NY and at the Pouch Cove Foundation in Newfoundland, Canada. Bendler Browning holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University (1997), a Master of Studio Art from Sydney College of the Arts (2000), and an MFA from Tyler School of Art (2003).