Sunday, September 4, 2016

Enza Benincasa in her studio Sunday 4 September 2016

Enza in studio. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016
Enza and Julie with Enza's work in progress. Photo by Enza's sister.

Julie in front of Enza's paintings. Photo: Enza Benincasa (c) 2016

I was luck to be able to catch up with two friends this week. On Friday Leonie Osowski and I saw a well curated exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, which focussed on landscape and afterwarfds we had a delicious vegan lunch at Gluttony in Smith Street.
Today I visited Enza Benincasa in her studio at Shakespeare Grove, St. Kilda. In her large-scale paintings on paper the night sky, with its myriad of stars and electric lights is a conduit from the earthly to an other-worldly or spiritual plane. City buildings, sentinals of iron and steel are transformed under her hand into structures of fantasy. Draped with small jewel-like fairy lights, the metropolis wears a delicate crown. This emphasis on the precious is reflected in her recent small works; as opals or other rare gems are recalled in the strong colors that blend effortlessly on canvas as though they have been plucked carefully from the earth. The phallic woman, represented by the iconic Madonna of Christianity features in many of her past works and speaks of the power of feminity and spirituality, a hallmark of her work. In some paintings Mary stands alongside or enveloped in the city space, which she protects. References or influences on Benincasa's work lie unashamedly on top of her work bench. Large tomes of Olsen and Catapan to name just a few. Olsen's strong, yet fluid mark making is reflected in Enza's work through a soft, delicate hand that creates a calligraphic line tracing a path over a colored ground. Enza's view of the city as we Melbournian's know it differs from Cattapan's dark vision, for her view of the city posit it as veiled often in discrete pastel colors.

I really enjoyed seeing Enza's work in the studio and I equally enjoyed walking through the community garden; the flowers were in bloom, the chickens were happy. If you would like to see more of Enza's work please visit:

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