WHEN DEL MAR artist Gabrielle Benot celebrated her birthday in 2008, she held parties in three different countries—Latvia, Denmark, and the U.S.—each of them significant to her, and collectively they reflect her multi-dimensional perspective as an artist. Benot was born in Latvia, grew up in Denmark, and now resides in the U.S., having settled in Del Mar.
Her recent work will be on display at a solo exhibit at the Herbert B. Turner Gallery in Southfair, from July 9 to August 26. The exhibit, “Opus Meum” will represent a cross-section of her diverse mixed media work to date.
Benot started painting in earnest at around the age of 12, following the example of her grandfather, a self-taught artist. She subsequently graduated from the Royal Fashion Academy in Copenhagen, where she majored in fashion design, which has remained a dimension of her work. As a painter, she is both opportunistic and experimental, and has abandoned oils for acrylic paint, using dry brush, a palette knife, and whatever material inspires her.
In addition to the rose petal teddy bear, more than 25 of Benot’s works will be exhibited in the “Opus Meum” show, including pieces printed on aluminum, which creates a translucent effect. Her canvases—at 60” by 72”— tend to be large, and are either representational or abstract, or sometimes both at the same time. Benot’s website, as well as a profile in the July 2017 edition of California Art News, lists renowned painters such as Toulouse Lautrec, Gerhard Richter, Willem De Kooning, Jean Paul Riopelle and Jackson Pollock, among those who have influenced Benot. But, she confided that she actually prefers the art of Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner, to that of Jackson Pollock.Recently she was given a bouquet of 100 red roses. What can you do with that? Fashion a giant rose petal teddy bear. This project should be on show at the HBT Gallery if she finishes it in time. While her decision to move to acrylics was partly to make things easier, in this instance, she has embarked on a demanding and dangerous process. To preserve the rose petals, she is coating them with epoxy resin, which is flammable, and produces noxious fumes.
Besides her fine art, Benot is also a photographer, and is producing a line of clothing incorporating graphic design.She currently has an exhibit in a Lisbon Gallery of black and white photos of angels, which she herself posed for. When asked to describe the collection, she suggested “provocative.”