Al Benkin is an assemblage artist, painter and stuffed animal maker. Her paintings & assemblages are stories often laden with visual language/iconography & are inspired by her version of real life, personalized myths and things she finds cool. The content varies from political/personal satire to a sort of comedy of the absurd to cute baby octopi and whatever else she wants. Al uses found objects aka “Happy Ghosts” a term from her Grandmother, painter Juanita Beenken, which she transforms/second-lifes into other things/meanings autonomous from intended origin. Sometimes elements of animistic fetishism like hair, teeth & blood can be found hidden in Al’s work instilling it with nostalgia/evidence of time & impermanence. Benkin studied under Bernhard Vennekohl, retired master carpenter and American folk painter Harry Folsom- both in NYC. Some artists Al loves are: Catherine Bothwell, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Scooter LaForge, Annie Sprinkle, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yoko Ono, Jacklyn Brown, Dieter Roth, Louis Borgeous, James Ensor (late work only) & Hans Belmer. Al has found all above artists to inspire & excel at trancending words in storytelling.
Benkin has shown nationally and internationally for the past 17 years. Some of her shows include “Nuances of Story Telling” a three person show with painters Jaclyn Brown & Cecelia Roberts at Tribes Gallery in LES, NYC, Benkin + Kelty at Art Raw in Chelsea NYC, Artujillo in Minneapolis, MN with the late Americo Juan and “The Doll’s of Lisbon, in Portugal with NYC's Antagonist Movement. Al was involved with NYC’s Antagonist Art Movement for a number of projects including guest curating a show she titled “Ghost Dreaming in NYC” in Aug of 2011 and was invited to be in juried international show of 100 artists called “Doll’s of Lisbon” Nov ’10 in Lisbon Portugal. Benkin has been written up in Pinned NYC, “Pulse of the Twin Cities”, featured for interviews on Fox Channel 5’s Butterfly Marketplace, Lower East Side Live and Antagovision. Benkin's published in the annual art magazine “A Gathering of Tribes” issue #13. She won Artist of the Month through Art Bazaar at Lyons Weir in May 2010 & her curatorial debut was at a pop up gallery/event space named Burnt Kitty Vactory in Sept 2010, She also co-curated pop-up shows like “Hypnagosia” in NYC Fall of 2012, Curated "Urban Influence" at Third Eye Gallery in Bushwick Brooklyn June 2013 and is having her New Orleans curatorial debut at the Floating Gallery in The French Quarter in Nov 2014. She is currently represented by Hutson Gallery in Provincetown, MA and Gallery SeV Ven in Huntington Valley CA, The Green Eyed Gator & Dutch Alley Art Co-Op both in New Orleans.