Richard Benoit is just one of fourteen Artists included in the "red" exhibition currently presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. While reviewing Benoit's web site—www.rbenoit.com— I found a wonderful Artist Statement which is both passionate and insightful. From his web site:
Paintings are like poetry. If their meaning isn't completely spelled out or absolutely clear, that meaning will rustle about like dried leaves and eventually come to settle. At that moment when the meaning comes to light one gets a sensation of peace and recognition, a glimpse of the universal. The best paintings are not tied to any particular time or place but are flexible vibrant things that bring a fresh feeling each time they are viewed.
I like to treat the canvas not as a place to describe something but more as a place for something to happen. I often arrange random visual elements in such a way as to excite the viewer's curiosity and intuitive sense of aesthetics. Put simply, my art is a random collection of chance and intent with the under- lying belief that art can be a transcendent experience. While working I like to leave evidence of the art making process (dribbles, brush strokes etc.) to celebrate the act of communication. Beauty is important but not at the expense of emotion, and passion is always more important than technique.
For me art is a quiet place of introspection and repose. I like to create work that people would want to return to time and again, work that elicits an emotional response, work where there's truth not just taste and real beauty, not just ornamentation. Memorable art is a refuge, a place to smooth the waters. Through my work I wish the viewer a life full of quiet moments, full of answers, full of peace, and full of beautiful engaging art.
Benoit's “Earth Writing”, can be seen—along with the works of thirteen other artists from around the country—at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago from September 14 through November 11. The Reception for "red" will take place on Friday, October 9th from 5:30-7:30. Gallery 180 is located at the corner of Lake and Wabash in Chicago's Loop. The exhibition is free to the public and all works will be available for purchase.
Above: Richard Benoit, "Earth Writing" acrylic on wood, 24x24", $850.