Artist Feature: Natalia Bennett

Editor Julia Alora, Art, September 4th, 2019

“Birds, body hair, multiple faces and sides of the artist's personality.”

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From the Artist:

The series of large works started as a way to help release the pain and emotional exhaustion Natalia Bennett felt after being used, lied to, and manipulated into sexual assault. Blame is something no one can help you let go of. Time is something no one can give you. Patience is all you have in these moments. And one night, or early one morning Bennett made a choice to unroll a roll of cartridge paper, grab a pencil and put earphones in. She felt in that moment a need to release her assaulter from her mind. The artwork speaks of the harbored hatred that is too difficult to address out loud. Meaning is held in even the smallest details. The shaved head, the cuts, the noose, the birds, body hair, multiple faces and sides of the artist’s personality, the blood, exposed genitalia, wings, snakes, flora, and tattoos read like an essay of events transpired. These pieces were a process of pin-pointing events in time and creating a visual representation of their significance and the memories behind them.

The smaller series is based on the patriarchal masculinity that is puritanical in its reaction to hair growth, natural bodily function, and menstruation. This socially constructed norm often makes folks feel dirty or like an outsider. The issue is still strong and viable as it was and has been for years, including the concept of a woman inhabiting a clean, soft, and small shape. In response, the depicted figures have cellulite, body hair, and some shaved heads. Their expressions twist the perception of a subjectively normal life drawing and turn it into a natural, beautiful and representational rejection of what is viewed as “normal”.

Behind all of it is the determination to show the viewer that if they have something risky to paint, paint it. If there is something no one else knows about but the best way to express it is through a song, or a large-scale drawing; know that it can be created. The self-directed therapy projected into these works has been mental health help unparalleled in the artist’s life. Bennett wants the viewer to know that nothing they paint, write, draw, make or sing needs to be perfect. The judgement needs to take a seat at the door and be locked out for a few hours while tending to the hurt within. She hopes that through the process the emotional strain can be addressed, and the viewer can replant feelings of comfort and love for the sake of rebuilding and growing anew. Art has been Natalia Bennett’s saving grace. She will always be thankful for the days spent laid down on the floor with paper and pens. 

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Natalia Bennett is a 27 years old Australian Artist and Illustrator currently living in the UK. She hopes to get work as an illustrator or learn more about how and where she can become a mural artist. She also has aspirations to try tattooing and advocate more for Mental Health Awareness.

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Julia Alora

Julia Alora is a transplanted Portland sculptoress inspired by biology and the natural world. Her works can be found lurking in the woods, guarding her studio, and in co-op art houses around the city.