Yarrott Benz: Recent Work

May 31– June 29, 2024

Opening Reception with the Artist, Friday, May 31, 5-7pm

Blue Lariat, 2024, Acrylic on wood, 46 x 16 x 4 inches

Santa Fe, NM– Chiaroscuro is pleased to debut a new artist to the gallery for our 2024 season opener. Yarrott Benz, Recent Work, opening reception, Friday, May 31, with the show continuing through June 29, 2024. Recent Work is a collection of abstract sculptural pieces made from found wood, painted with vivid saturated color. Benz explains, “In this new work I make something physical from almost nothing, using scraps and pieces of discarded, milled wood as I find it, juxtaposing the parts to fashion whole new entities and meanings, and allowing unknown histories to quietly speak for themselves.” Recent Work is a cohesive collection of pieces exploring abstract compositional possibilities from found wood. The artist doesn’t alter the shape and form of the wood, yet through assemblage of many pieces, dynamic relationships and compositions are formed.

Yarrott Benz lives and works in Santa Fe, and this will be his first major exhibition in the area. The pieces have a relationship to the New Mexico landscape, as the found wood is weather worn and carrying a history of its past. His influences are many, as the pieces continue a dialog with artists who have come before him. Benz explains:

“At the time I completed an MFA in sculpture in 1980 the artists who were making me salivate were modernists like Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Isamu Noguchi, and Louise Nevelson. Studying the esoteric language of modern poetry also kept me diving further into abstraction. The exquisitely veiled metaphors of Adrienne Rich and Robert Lowell ranked alongside the giant, all-enveloping paintings of Rothko and Kelly as my earliest creativeinspirations. In the many decades since, despite experiencing the works of thousands of other artists and practicing in several disparate fields in the visual arts, including teaching and writing, my preferred visual vocabulary today still dates from that time— when I came of age. Mid-twentieth century abstraction rooted fast in me, permanent and unshakable, like the imprinting of a mother on a baby. When I look back, I’m astonished how absolute and fixed those influences have been.”

The show will consist of approximately a dozen wall and free standing sculptures, presented in the main downstairs gallery at 558 Canyon Road. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10am – 5pm, and the exhibition will be on view for 4 weeks.