Outside In, , an exhibition of new paintings, drawings, and
sculpture by Fort Worth artist Carol Benson, will be on display December 8
through January 14 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening reception
will be held Thursday, December 8, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The exhibition will
include new works in oil on wood, metal, and paper, in addition to a
three-dimensional wire construction-all centered on the artist's storied themes
of houses and the environment.
Couched in familiar yet abstracted imagery, the new pieces reflect Benson's
lifelong connection to nature and how that connection impacts our sense of
place-more specifically, home-on both personal and universal levels.
Benson's paintings and drawings feature layers of multicolored shapes inspired
by leaves from the post oak tree-a species known for its resilience and ability
to adapt to drought and poor soil conditions. Here, the diaphanous foliage moves
throughout the picture plane, loosely circumscribed by organic lines that give
shape to the array of leaves. More precise lines that recall house constructions
surround the broader compositions, segmenting the space and adding a sense of
order to the raw current of shapes and colors.
Outside In represents a continuation of Benson's ongoing exploration
of the house as an icon of stability and protection, as well as a structure that
becomes indicative of our inner selves. The work, which considers this arc of
coexistence in free-flowing juxtapositions, has taken shape over the past several
years, as the artist has become increasingly interested in how we depend on and
interact with our surroundings-as well as our inherent responsibility toward
conservation and stewardship of our resources.
"In this body of work, I have used the house image with layered leaves to
represent living in and with nature," says Benson, who spent her early years
amid untouched landscapes, witnessing nature's cycles firsthand. As an adult,
she has continued to study and be nurtured by nature in all its manifestations.
Benson believes nature can feed the soul and bring peace and calm to our
overwrought lives. She cites photographer Dewitt Jones, who said, "The banquet
table is set and if you are not there, you miss the feast." Benson feels strongly
that we need to experience "the feast." With advanced technology, we can study
nature like never before. However, Benson asserts that taking time to exist in
our environment without headsets, screens, and other gadgets allows us not to
lose sight of the awe and wonder of our universe-concepts she puts forth in
this newest body of work.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Carol Benson has worked and exhibited as an artist for four decades, in Fort
Worth, Dallas, Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, Little Rock,
Jackson Hole, and Santa Fe, among other places. Recently, she had solo
exhibitions at the Tyler Museum of Art and the Old Jail Art Center in Albany
as part of its Cell Series. This fall, she was included in the first alumni
exhibition at TCU, titled Home Base, and in House, Shelter, Home
in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Benson has degrees from Stephen F. Austin University and the University of
North Texas, along with an MFA from TCU. She taught in public and private
schools, as well as at TCU, the University of Texas at Arlington, and at the
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. She was a member of the board of trustees at
the Modern for twenty years, and now serves on the council of Emergency Artists
Service League (EASL).
Currently, Benson is leading a team of artists in a project that gauges citizen
perceptions about public art projects in Fort Worth. Titled Coming Home: Community
Conversations on Public Art, the temporary, mobile exhibit displays Benson's houses
(along with benches by Tom Diel) throughout Fort Worth, and gives visitors the
opportunity to voice their opinions regarding future public art endeavors across