The New York Optimist
March 2009
Born
1977, Portland, Maine

Education
2002 MFA, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
1999 BFA, summa cum laude, University of Hartford, Hartford, CT

Additional Studies:
St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford University, Oxford, England
University of Georgia Art School in Cortona, Italy

Solo Exhibitions
2007 Buried, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden
2007 Neighbors, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2005 Stories, Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL

Group Exhibitions
2007 Size Matters: XS, HVCCA, Peekskill, NY
200 " LA Art Fair, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
2006 Frieze Art Fair, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, London
200 " The Armory Show, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, New York, NY
200 " LA Art Fair, Richard Heller Gallery, New York, NY
200 " ArtLA Linda Warren Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2005 Visitors from the East, Billy Shire Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
2005 The Gallery, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden
2005 Something is Somewhere, Monya Rowe Gallery, New York, NY
2005 Art Chicago, International Art Fair, Chicago, IL
2004 Points of Muse, Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL
2003 Public Domain, Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL
2003 The Burbs, DFN Gallery, New York, NY
2003 Space Invaders, Fish Tank Gallery, Brooklyn, NY


Awards
2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Painting
2003 Smack Mellon Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY
2004 Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant
2003 Prince of Wales Scholarship to Normandy, France
2003 Research Fellowship, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
1999 Felicia C. Miller Award for Artistic Excellence
1999 Barbara Podorowsky Memorial Award for Excellence in Painting

Press
2007 Hammarström, Camilla, The Smell of Snow, Aftonbladet, Sept.
2005 Persman, Joanna, Small Stories Become Disturbingly Real,
200420Svenska Dagbladet, Sept. 8
2005 Olofsson, Anders, Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm: Amy Bennett,
200420 konsten.net Sept.-Oct.
2005 Finkel, Jori, Welcome to the Neighborhood, Art + Auction, Apr. p.147
2005 Myers, Holly, Welcome to the Neighborhood, Los Angeles Times,
200420 Jan. 26, E27
2005 Bedford, Christopher, Amy Bennett, ArtForum.com, Jan.-Feb.
2005 Pasulka, Nicole, Neighbors, TheMorningNews.org, Jan. 22-29
2005Han, Gregory, The Gallery: Amy Bennett, ApartmentTherapy.com,
200420 Jan. 9,
2005 Sandall, Simon, Interview, www.readersvoice.com, Feb.
2005 Young, Stephanie, Rear Window, Vellum no.5, June
2005 Hawkins, Margaret, Amy Bennett, ARTnews, Sept.
2005 Hawkins, Margaret, Amy Bennett, Chicago Sun-Times, Apr. 22.
2005 Hinkel, Joanne, Art Trips, Centerstage Chicago, Apr. 18.
2004 Skolnik, Lisa, The Art of Amy Bennett, Design & Architecture,
200420 Chicago Edition, August, pp. 8, 10, 32-35.
2004 Littman, Margaret, Ten Things to do this Weekend,
200420 Crain’s Chicago Business Online, August.
2004 Zoltak, Benjamin, Can of Culture, Centerstage Chicago Online,
August.
2003 Krenz, Marcel, Space Invaders: Six Painters & Two Sculptors
200420 Reconstruct Representation, Contemporary, Issue 55
2003 Up & Coming, Brooklyn Free Press, May 2-8.
From Now On, oil on panel, 13 x 13 inches
Coming to Grips, oil on panel, 20 x 20 inches
Two years ago, I contsructed a 1:87 scale model neighborhood, a fictitious cluster of eleven houses depicted through model railroading miniatures, styrofoam,
cardboard, and plastic, complete with string telephone wires and working lights. The process of designing and assembling the setting over several months triggered my
imagination to develop characters to populate the place along with a loose timeline of events that would culminate in the neighborhood’s history. I considered who lived
in each home, their family dramas, and the way their private lives might spill into view of their neighbors. The model became a stage on which to develop the
psychological implications of belonging to a particular family, with all of its dramas, struggles and familiar routines. I thought: this tree will be taken down after an old
man crashes into it; a father will transform this lawn into an ice skating rink; this house will be abandoned after its residents are scandalized on the evening news.


The paintings are glimpses of a scene or fragments of a narrative. Some of the images are conceived of sequentially. While the images don’t necessarily need to be
“read” in order, I am interested in storytelling over time through repeated depictions of the same house or car or person, seasonal changes, and shifting vantage points.
Like the disturbing difficulty of trying to put rolls of film in order several years after the pictures have been taken, I hope the collective images suggest a known past that
is just beyond reach. I intend for the tiny scale to enhance an urge for more information. Similar to a memory, they are fictional constructions of significant moments
and distillations of experience. One of my challenges is to invite the viewer to form his or her own connection and narrative so that he may empathize with the
occupants’ seemingly mundane existence.


Working with common themes such as transition, aging, isolation, and loss, I am interested in the fragility of relationships and the awkwardness of a group of people
trying to coexist and relate to one another. As I transitioned my model into winter, snowbanks of increasing depth seemed to fortify a sense of isolation and quietness.
The paintings portray both the magical and suffocating potential of snow, the wonder at its stark beauty and the hopelessness that spring might never come.


The first group of the neighborhood series was exhibited in January 2007 at Richard Heller Gallery in LA. The final pieces, consisting primarily of snow scenes, were
shown in September, 2007 at Galleri Magnus Karlsson in Stockholm.
Waiting, oil on panel, 16 x 30 inches
Losing It, oil on panel, 16 x 20 inches
Bracing Ourselves, oil on panel, 10 x 18 inches
Cold Compress,oil on panel, 12 x 18 inches