“Such a huge portion of experiencing art today is through a screen, and I hope to reinforce the fact that this is only one of the ways we as viewers can consume art.”
Brightly coloured grids, zigzags and squiggles seemingly hover above the surface of the canvas in Trudy Benson’s paintings. Richly applied, dense impasto lines that have the immediacy of a sketch overlap fragments of flat areas of colour that seem to replicate the ‘fill’ function found on rudimentary computer drawing software such as MS Paint.
Bop, 2014 and For RL, 2013 appear to be spitting out language, like the pow and pop of speech bubbles in a comic book, keeping the eye moving. The brain is left processing an onslaught of visual information that fizzes with the energy of a live circuit. Benson separates marks from the functional intention of the program they originate from and re-introduces them as independent graphics; in doing this, the paintings offer a portal between on-screen images and formal abstraction. By working with a range of paints, from acrylic to enamel and oil, collaged together in variety of applications from very flat to relief to sprayed on, she allows different levels and depths to exist on the same surface.
Benson has commented that her references to the language of computer software echo Roy Lichtenstein’s 1960s Brushstroke pop art paintings, "in that they are also representations of abstract marks". She has adapted this idea by reproducing computer software motifs with lucid precision, which is further amplified in those that are made as solid 3D forms. Here, the intense physicality of the paint plays an essential role as instantly disposable digital 2D graphics are transformed into sculptural forms of epic proportions. This creates a larger than life presence, unlike the dematerialised, disposable nature of the original computer program. These paintings dwarf the viewer, pronouncing the importance of requiring a first hand, bodily experience, one that is not available by looking at a digital image on screen.
Text by Gemma de Cruz