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Olivet College will present “Plain + Simple Geometry” by Patricia A. Bender on Nov. 4 – Dec. 2, 2021. A reception will be held on Friday, Nov. 5, 5-7 p.m. The exhibition and reception will be held at the Kresge Foundation Art Gallery inside the Riethmiller Blackman Art Building. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

“Geometry 18″, unique oxidized gelatin silver cliche-verre print, 10″x8”, 2018

Patricia A. Bender

Patricia A. Bender is a photo-based visual artist living and working in New Jersey and Michigan. She began studying photography in the early 2000s, and was hooked from the moment she shot and developed her first image. She works exclusively in the darkroom with black and white media, and she personally creates each image from the moment it is conceived through the finished gelatin silver print. She has recently added drawing to her artistic practice.

Bender has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally. She is an artist on the curated White Columns artist registry, and is the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including being named to the 2018 Critical Mass Top 50 and as a 2020 Critical Mass finalist. Bender’s work has been published in several magazines and is

held in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Michigan State University, as well as many other public, corporate and private collections.

“From the first day I began to make photographs seriously, I was drawn to creating abstract images. Using black and white film, I initially photographed in the manner of Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan, seeking the abstract in reality: weatherworn rocks, torn bits of paper stapled to telephone poles, bare twigs breaching deep snow,” Bender said.

“meditation on love + grief no. 040621″, graphite pencil on sketch paper, 12″x9”, 2021

“In the past several years, however, I became restless; no longer content hunting abstracts in the real world, I wanted to create them myself. Drawing and cliché-verre prints, where my drawings serve as the negative in the darkroom, seemed the perfect artistic processes for this pursuit. I could experiment with lines on paper and light in the darkroom to construct my own abstractions. To paraphrase the artist Dorothea Rockburne, I wanted to create images that were of themselves and not about something else.

“The mysterious ability of abstraction to move the human heart and mind has always fascinated me. When I photograph a beautiful tree I understand why people respond. It’s a beautiful tree. When I create an image of a simple circle bisected by a line I have no understanding why it moves me or others, but it can. I love the cryptic nature of the conversation between abstract art and emotion.

“In this exhibition, I hope to show how my work has evolved over the past 15 years, from film to paper, camera to sketch pad, darkroom printing to drawing, always exploring the limits and possibilities of these tools of art making in creating abstract work.”

For more information, contact Gary Wertheimer, professor of art, at 269-749-7627. Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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